WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be suffering from an unknown illness – and Ecuador is listening.
Ecuador’s foreign minister Ricardo Patino asked Britain Foreign Secretary William Hague at the United Nations General Assembly if the fugitive could be permitted to leave his London hideout for medical treatment without risking arrest.
For about 100 days, Assange has been sheltered inside Ecuador’s embassy in London where he is beyond the reach of British police. Assange is avoiding extradition to Sweden for questioning over sex crimes allegations. If he steps outside of the embassy, Assange will be arrested and flown to Sweden.
Assange, who made an appearance at a videolink for a meeting at the General Assembly, appeared pale and sounded hoarse. However, British officials insist there is no immediate concern about Assange’s health.
While Britain will consider the request, Hague also informed Patino that Britain was obliged under international law to deport Assange and question him toward rape and sexual misconduct allegations. Supporters of Assange insist he could face the death penalty.
Patino said Ecuador granted Assange shelter because they accept his fear that the Swedish sex case is part of a U.S. plot to put him on trial for his work with WikiLeaks, a self-described non-profit organization that publishes classified documents alleging government misconduct. Assange has been in hiding since June 19.
“Both ministers agreed that they were committed to the search for a diplomatic solution to Mr. Assange’s case,” said a spokesman for Hague.
Both Patino and Hague will likely meet again in two months to discuss the case.