Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has criticized British authorities for not allowing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Patino said in an interview that British officials were “making a big mistake” by not letting the founder of the whistleblowing website out of his nation’s embassy in the UK’s capital, RIA Novosti reports Wednesday.
“Possibly some day Britain will realize that it is making a big mistake and violates human rights in regard to someone, who deserves freedom,” the Ecuadorian foreign minister is cited as adding in an interview with Democracynow news portal.
The 41-year-old Assange has sought refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June to avoid his extradition to Sweden, where he faces alleged criminal charges that he rejects as politically motivated.
Patino further said that in a recent conversation with his British counterpart William Hague he asked him about what Britain was waiting for regarding Assange. “Are you waiting for Assange to get old and die in our embassy?”
Although Assange was granted asylum in Ecuador in August, he faces arrest if he steps out of Ecuador’s embassy building in London.
Assange's whistleblowing site leaked hundreds of thousands of American diplomatic cables in 2010, thereby making an enemy of the US government.
US authorities, meanwhile, have never ruled out an effort to seek his extradition from Sweden.