`Ecuador granted asylum to Assange for fear of US`

The Ecuadorian ambassador to Russia said it was waiting for permission from British authorities for Julian Assange`s safe travel to the airport.

Updated: Aug 17, 2012, 20:05 PM IST

Moscow: Ecuador has granted political asylum to Julian Assange over concerns that the WikiLeaks` founder could be transferred to the US and face death penalty after extradition to Sweden, said the Ecuadorian ambassador to Russia on Friday.

"We cannot anticipate the US expectations but we do not rule out even the death penalty," Ambassador Patricio Alberto Chavez Zavala said.

"Assange has been persecuted for a crime that has yet to be proven," he said. "In appealing to our state, he provided the information as to why he needs political asylum."

He said Assange will not stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in London forever, adding that it was waiting for permission from the British authorities for Assange`s safe travel to the airport.

"I believe that Britain is a very wise and experienced country and I`m absolutely sure that we will be able eventually to find an acceptable solution," he said.

Assange has been holed up in Ecuador`s embassy in London for two months as he fights extradition to Sweden on sex crime charges. He has denied the charges.

A day after the British authorities threatened to strip the embassy of diplomatic immunity, allowing them to enter its grounds and arrest Assange, he was granted asylum on Thursday by Ecuador.