Julian Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy, in central London, Feb. 5, 2016. Reuters/Peter Nicholls

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office rejected the Ecuadorian government’s request to grant diplomatic immunity to the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Foreign Office said in a statement the only way for the embassy to resolve Assange’s issue would be for him to leave its premises and face justice.

Following the announcement from the Foreign Office, Assange in a tweet said, “The US & UK governments continue their attempts to arrest me in violation of two UN rulings and their own laws.”

Assange has been living in the Ecuador embassy since 2012, after he was accused of many charges during his stint at WikiLeaks, which include purportedly leaking several classified documents.

In 2006, he made headlines for leaking confidential documents and images such as a footage in which United States soldiers were seen shooting dead 18 civilians from a helicopter in Iraq.

WikiLeaks gained notoriety around the world after it published classified information about the CIA’s hard-hitting tactics and stolen emails from the democratic officials in 2016.

In addition to the aforementioned crimes, Assange was also charged and tried for the rape of two Swedish women. He was released on bail amid the proceedings. Due to the fear of being prosecuted, he violated the terms of the bail and sought asylum at Ecuador embassy, Daily Mail reported. The Swedish prosecutors halted the case against Assange in September 2017.

Assange fears without the safety of the diplomatic immunity, the looming threat of extradition by the U.S government would result in his arrest and trial as the country’s justice department was considering pressing several charges against Assange.

The metropolitan police said in the event that Assange leaves the embassy he will be arrested, BBC reported.

Although Sweden dropped the case, he is wanted by the UK police for jumping bail. If he is granted diplomatic immunity, authorities fear he might evade the law.

Assange, who faces the possibility of persecution by various law enforcement agencies, has become a man without a country. Until the Foreign Office grants him the said immunity, it seems he would be holed up in the embassy for a long time.

In the meantime, speculations were rife that Assange might have procured Ecuador citizenship. Reuters found an entry for “Julian Paul Assange” in Ecuador’s Civil Registry, which reportedly only includes Ecuadorean citizens.

Reports by Ecuadorian outlet El Universo stated Assange became a citizen of the country, and he tweeted a photo of himself wearing a jersey of the nation’s soccer team.

Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry in a statement said it was exploring options to resolve Assange’s situation, without making a reference to the citizenship issue.