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Assange expects to stay in embassy for up to a year

Correa said that WiliLeaks fouder Julian Assange (image on the screen at the back) wouldn't have a fair trial in the United States and alerted about the risk of a political persecution. AFP PHOTO/PRESIDENCIA DE ECUADOR

QUITO: Julian Assange expects to remain holed up in Ecuador's London embassy for up to a year as the two countries struggle to resolve a diplomatic row over the controversial WikiLeaks founder.

Assange took shelter in the embassy in June after exhausting all appeals against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations. Earlier this month Ecuador granted him asylum.

Assange has denied any wrongdoing and said he fears Sweden will hand him over to the United States, where he could face prosecution over the release of a trove of leaked Iraq and Afghanistan war reports and diplomatic cables.

"I believe this will be resolved in six to 12 months," the 41-year-old Australian said in an interview with Ecuadoran television held inside the embassy and broadcast in dubbed-over Spanish.

"The situation will be resolved either through diplomacy or an unusual event in the world that no one can predict, like a war against Iran, the election in the United States, or the Swedish government dropping the case," he said.

"I expect the last scenario is the most likely one," he added, according to the Spanish translation.

Earlier this week, Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa said the case could take years to resolve and depended on London and Stockholm.

He said there were three ways to resolve the diplomatic impasse: either Britain and Sweden could guarantee that Assange won't be sent to a third country, Swedish prosecutors could question him in the Ecuadoran embassy, or British authorities could allow him to leave without arresting him.

 

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