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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted political asylum in Ecuador

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Julian Assange

© Rex Features

Julian Assange will be granted political asylum in Ecuador, according to reports.

The WikiLeaks founder is set to have his request granted by Ecuador president Rafael Correa later this week.

A government official based in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito has gone on record as saying the request will be accepted, reports The Guardian.

Assange has been in hiding in London's Ecuadorian embassy after he failed in his appeal to prevent extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in regards to sexual assault charges.

Assange's mother earlier this week aired her fears that, should her son be extradited to Sweden, he could then face extradition to the US, where he might face the death penalty under the charge of espionage, for his role in the leaking of US military and diplomatic cables.

Analysts suggest that Correa sees granting Assange asylum as a way of presenting himself as a champion of free speech in the build-up to the February 2013 elections.

The Ecuadorian president had previously appeared on Assange's TV show The World Tomorrow, the interview show funded by Russian television station Russia Today, where the two spoke for 75 minutes in a jokey, informal discussion.

However, even if Ecuador does grant the request, Assange may face arrest by British police as soon as he leaves the embassy for breaking the strict curfew conditions of his bail.

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