Assange's lung condition 'not urgent': Ecuador embassy

29th November 2012, Comments 0 comments

Ecuador's embassy in London published a clarification on Thursday about the health of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living there for five months, saying there was no urgent problem.

Ambassador Ana Alban, the South American country's envoy to Britain, told reporters in Quito on Wednesday that Assange "has a chronic lung condition that could worsen at any time".

A statement posted on the London embassy's website on Thursday said: "In reference to reported comments of the Ambassador Ana Alban, Julian Assange does not have an urgent medical condition.

"We continue to seek the assurances from the UK and Swedish governments to enable him to live a normal life, free from the fear of extradition to the United States.

"The government of Ecuador requests that the UK government undertakes to guarantee any future humanitarian assistance that Julian Assange may need respecting the protection granted to him by Ecuador."

Britain's Foreign Office confirmed the Ecuadorian government had not told them that Assange was ill.

"They have raised concerns about what might happen should Mr Assange require medical care, including when their Foreign Minister saw the Foreign Secretary on 27 September," said the ministry statement.

"We have made it very clear to them that we are open to discuss any concerns they have and would be happy to meet with representatives of the embassy.

"There is no question that the British authorities would in any way seek to impede Mr Assange receiving medical advice or care," it added.

Assange sought asylum at the London embassy five months ago to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is facing allegations of rape and sexual assault, that he strongly denies.

He says that if extradited, he could be passed on to the United States.

WikiLeaks enraged Washington in 2010 by leaking hundreds of thousands of classified US documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and embarrassing diplomatic cables from US embassies around the world.

Ecuador granted Assange asylum on August 16, but Britain has refused to grant him safe passage out of the country -- leaving the two governments in diplomatic deadlock and Assange stuck inside the embassy.

© 2012 AFP

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