QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador, whose U.K. embassy provides refuge to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, will have him answer questions from Swedish authorities about allegations of assault and rape against two women, President Rafael Correa said on Wednesday.
Correa told reporters at a briefing that he expects Assange to be questioned by Ecuadorean authorities in the next few days.
Assange, an Australian citizen, sought protection in Ecuador’s embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is alleged to have committed the crimes while on a visit.
Assange has said he fears Sweden will extradite him to the United States where he could be put on trial over WikiLeaks’ publication of classified military and diplomatic documents five years ago, one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.
Britain has accused Ecuador of preventing the course of justice by allowing Assange to remain in its embassy in the upmarket central London area of Knightsbridge since 2012.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Swedish judicial authorities had shown “real lack of respect” by sending a questionnaire with some sections crossed out by hand, and a new version had been requested before the case could proceed.
Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Girish Gupta, David Gregorio and Andrew Hay