by Kevin Gosztola

The government of Ecuador has officially granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange. Earlier this morning, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino made the announcement, describing the process undertaken before a decision was made by the government and declared the government endorsed the “fears,” accepted that Assange could face political persecution and measures, such as asylum, are necessary to avoid this persecution.

The decision did not hinge upon whether Assange could be granted safe passage to Ecuador or not. The Ecuador government indicated its hope that the United Kingdom would respect Ecuador’s decision and allow Assange—now a political refugee—the right to leave the Ecuador embassy in the UK for Ecuador.