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Ecuador Gives WikiLeaks' Assange Asylum

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted asylum by Ecuador, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño just announced in Quito.

Now, the question becomes whether Great Britain will allow Assange to leave Ecuador's embassy in London so that he can travel to the South American nation that is offering him refuge.

As Eyder wrote Wednesday, back in June, Assange sought refuge at Ecuador's embassy. Sweden wants him extradited, in order to question him about allegations of sexual misconduct. Assange has said he fears persecution from the United States if he is extradited.

The Guardian was live blogging as Patiño anounced the news. It quotes him as saying:

"We can state that there is a risk that he [Assange] will be persecuted politically ... We trust the UK will offer the necessary guarantees so that both governments can act adequately and properly respect international rights and the right of asylum."

Earlier, Ecuador accused the U.K. of threatening to storm the embassy in a bid to arrest Assange, the BBC reports.

Update at 10:40 a.m. ET. A Related Post:

Cut Diplomatic Ties? Hide Him In A Crate? How Might Assange Standoff End?

Update at 9:10 a.m. ET. Britain Is "Disappointed," Says It Will Carry Out Its Obligations.

In a series of tweets, Britain's Foreign & Commonwealth Office says:

-- "We are disappointed by the statement from Ecuador's Foreign Minister that #Ecuador has offered political asylum to Julian #Assange."

-- "Under our law, with Mr Assange having exhausted all options of appeal UK authorities are under binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden."

-- "We shall carry out that obligation. The Ecuadorian Government's decision this afternoon does not change that."

-- "We remain committed to a negotiated solution that allows us to carry out our obligations under the Extradition Act."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.