- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ecuador’s attorney general on Monday indicated that Julian Assange will likely remain inside its London embassy for the unforeseeable future notwithstanding a recent meeting there between the WikiLeaks chief and a Swedish prosecutor more than six years in the making.

Mr. Assange, the anti-secrecy website’s editor-in-chief, has called the embassy home since 2012, when he was granted political asylum by Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa in the midst of being wanted for questioning in Sweden over rape accusations that date back to 2010.

The WikiLeaks co-founder has maintained that traveling to Stockholm for questioning could give way to extradition to the United States and subsequent charges over his website’s publication of classified state secrets. Sweden relented after a multiyear impasse and dispatched Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren to interrogate Mr. Assange inside his embassy home this month through an Ecuadorean intermediary.

Ecuador’s prosecutor, Galo Chiriboga, told reporters this week that an end to Mr. Assange’s ordeal isn’t apparent regardless of the round of questioning.

“Four years have passed and we are only at this stage, but that is no longer attributable to Ecuador, it is attributable to Swedish prosecutors. I do not think there is a quick way out,” Mr. Chiriboga told reporters, Reuters reported Monday.

A transcript of the interrogation will be forwarded to Swedish authorities “in mid-December,” the prosecutor said. Additionally, he said that British police obtained a DNA sampled from Mr. Assange that Swedish prosecutors may likely request from law enforcement as they continue their investigation into the rape accusations.

Mr. Assange has not been charged with any crime. If Swedish prosecutors agree to cease investigating the claims and void a warrant for Mr. Assange’s arrest, then he could potentially exit the embassy and travel to Ecuador without being apprehended.

Mr. Chiriboga made the remarks as WikiLeaks commemorated six years to the day since it began publishing hundreds of thousands of U.S. State Department diplomatic cables that were provided to the website by Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning.

Manning, 28, is serving a 35-year prison sentence for stealing those documents while deployed as an intelligence analyst during the Iraq War and supplying them to WikiLeaks for publication.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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