WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who stunned the world by publishing a series of classified U.S. diplomatic cables, has sought asylum at Ecuadorean embassy in London.
The 40-year-old Australian publisher, whose appeal against his extradition to Sweden from Britain to stand trial for sexual assault charges turned down last week, reportedly spent Tuesday night at the embassy.
As per bail conditions, he is supposed to stay at his friend's house in Norfolk between 10 at night and 8 in the morning, failing which he could be arrested and brought before a court.
Police say Assange faces arrest for violating his bail terms.
Ecuadorian Ambassador Anna Alban said its foreign affairs department will assess Assange's application, and for the time being, he will be given protection at the embassy.
Britain's apex court on last Thursday unanimously upheld its ruling on May 30 that the European arrest warrant for Assange was valid.
The court dismissed the argument by Assange's lawyers that the decision was based on a legal point that had not been argued in court as being "without merit".
Under Sweden's request, London's Metropolitan Police arrested Assange on 2010 December 7 on a European arrest warrant on alleged sex crimes.
He is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in Stockholm in August 2010.
Assange denies allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two female former Wikileaks volunteers, saying the sex was consensual.
The lawyer of the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks expressed concern that his client could later be extradited to the U.S. on separate charges relating to publishing secret U.S. diplomatic cables, for which he could face the death penalty there.
Clare Montgomery, who advocated for the Swedish authorities, said that Sweden guaranteed protection against such a threat, and that the European Court of Human Rights would intervene if Assange was to face the prospect of "an unfair trial" in the U.S.
Publication of about 250,000 top secret American diplomatic cables by the site in its latest expose fueled a wave of anger in the U.S. resulting in numerous calls for bringing Assange to justice for alleged treason.
Americans also called for his arrest or placing him on terrorists' blacklist.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton blamed the origin of the WikiLeaks incident as an act of theft, because government documents were stolen, "just the same as if they had been smuggled out in a briefcase."
by RTT Staff Writer
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