Ecuador has granted citizenship to Julian Assange, after the WikiLeaks founder has been hiding out in the country’s embassy in London since 2012.
Assange’s five-year stay in the embassy recently became tenuous, with the Ecuador foreign minister saying earlier this week that his residence there was “untenable.” Assange sought asylum in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape accusations. Although the investigation of alleged rape has since been dropped, Assange still faces arrest in Britain for breaking bail.
Ecuadoran officials are permitting Assange's naturalization while they look for ways to resolve his situation.
Assange is an international fugitive. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, WikiLeaks published troves of emails to humiliate Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and many observers say it swayed the election to Donald Trump. Although Ecuador has an extradition treaty with the United States, there are loopholes that allow people wanted for offenses of a “political character” to dodge extradition.