WikiLeaks' Assange Dons Ecuador Jersey Amid Reports of Passport
(Bloomberg) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange added to speculation about his legal status today after he tweeted an enigmatic photo of himself wearing an Ecuadorian football jersey.
Assange, who’s been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for more than five years after gaining asylum from the South American country in 2012, posted the unsmiling, three-quarter portrait -- with no context -- in the yellow, blue and red top as reports from Quito suggested he’d been issued a new passport. Daily newspaper El Universo cited sources saying that Assange had been issued both a national ID card and passport, while a search on the country’s tax office website confirmed his “cedula” number as 1729926483.
Today’s report comes just a day after Ecuador’s foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa told reporters that the country was exploring options to resolve Assange’s status and that it’s interested in mediation by a third party.
Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry wouldn’t provide more information on Assange’s legal status after his tweet, or if he had indeed been granted a new nationality, saying that it wouldn’t comment on “distorted or out-of-context information.” WikiLeaks, meanwhile, renewed its call for his freedom early Wednesday.
“Mr. Assange is unlawfully and arbitrarily detained by the UK authorities and must be released,” the organization said.
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