UK refuses Assange safe passage to hospital

(credit: Surian Soosay)

The UK government on Wednesday denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange safe passage from Ecuador’s embassy in London to a nearby hospital to diagnose shoulder pain. The 44-year-old Assange has been granted asylum from Ecuador, and he has been holed up at the embassy there since 2012 as Swedish authorities wish to question him about an alleged sexual-assault.

The British decision, announced by the Public News Agency of Ecuador and South America, came as Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño told state TV that the UK should honor the request to enable Assange to “benefit from the right of asylum that we have granted him, as should be done in a respectful international relationship.” Assange has been at the embassy for three years because he fears he eventually could be sent to the United States and face charges related to the secret-spilling site WikiLeaks if he were to leave the embassy’s grounds.

According to Patiño, Assange is suffering from constant pain on his right shoulder area for the past three months, and his movement has become limited. His doctor says he needs an MRI, the foreign minister said.

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