Assange getting Ecuadorian ID could be ‘first step’ to diplomatic immunity – rights activist

The Ecuadorian ID reportedly granted to Julian Assange could mark his first step to obtaining diplomatic immunity, as Ecuador wants to resolve Assange’s indefinite embassy stay, human rights activist Peter Tatchell told RT.

“Granting an identity card is potentially the first step towards granting citizenship of Ecuador. And there is a possibility that he could be then granted a diplomatic status, which would give him diplomatic immunity,” Tatchell, who is a human rights campaigner and the director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, said. He added that diplomatic immunity would mean that the WikiLeaks co-founder would be “free to leave the embassy and travel to Ecuador and the British government would not be able to lay a finger on him.”

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© Julian Assange

Ecuadorian media reports Assange was given an ID card issued on December 21, citing “reliable sources” and providing the civil registry number of the document. The whistleblower also uploaded a photo of himself on Twitter wearing a yellow, blue and red shirt, the colors of the Ecuadorian flag, but made not comments on the issue.

Ecuador usually issues such ID cards for people claiming residency status, which are called cedulas. It is, however, unclear whether Assange was granted residency status or full citizenship.

However, Tatchell says “the Ecuadorian government has made it very clear that it wants a resolution [of this whole situation around Assange] and they are prepared to negotiate [to give] a way for Julian Assange [to leave] the embassy.” He added that “granting him [Assange] an identity card is a new development that can open the door for further things in the future.”

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