Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said on Wednesday that they requested a safe passage for a few hours from Britain for Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, so that he can have an MRI scan for his shoulder, but their request was denied.
The statement came two days after London police announced they are ending the 24/7 surveillance of the London Embassy of Ecuador, where Assange has been in asylum since 2012.
Assange has had a sharp pain in his right shoulder for three months, Patino said.
He said they asked “the British government for a safe passage for humanitarian reasons in coordination with Ecuador,” but the UK’s reply was that “he can leave whenever he likes for any medical care he might need but the European arrest warrant for Assange is still valid.”
“In other words,” he continued, they “will put him in jail.”
44-year-old Australian Assange faces a rape allegation by Sweden, which he denies strongly and says the intercourse was consensual.
Sweden wants to question him, but he believes that his being questioned in Sweden will end with his extradition to the US, where he’ll face a trial for leakage of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.
Ecuador is negotiating with Sweden on a possible questioning inside the embassy instead of extraditing Assange to the Scandinavian country.
Sweden wants an accord being reached by the end of the year, but Patino earlier said that no deadline for an agreement is set yet.