WikiLeaks founder’s mom meets with Ecuador’s president
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QUITO, Ecuador -- The mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange met with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa here Wednesday to lobby for her son’s request for political asylum. Correa made no comment after the meeting, and it remains unclear how his government will decide the case.
Assange has been holed up for a month in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, awaiting word on his asylum petition. He is wanted in Sweden in connection with rape and sexual assault allegations and faces extradition from Britain if Ecuador denies his asylum request.
Assange’s mother, Christine, an Australian national, arrived in Ecuador several days ago and has said she fears that Sweden might send her son to the U.S. to face espionage charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of top-secret diplomatic cables. She said a grand jury was convening in Virginia to consider such charges.
Assange told reporters in Ecuador that she felt abandoned by the Australian government, which she characterized as a “lap dog” of the U.S.
She spoke with Correa for half an hour Wednesday. Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, who accompanied Assange to the meeting, said a decision would be made sometime after the Olympic Games, which end Aug. 12.
Assange said at a news conference after meeting with Correa that she had been received warmly in Ecuador.
“I am not here to demand anything of Ecuador, or its people, or its president. I am here humbly as a mother to present some facts. Of course I will be most grateful if asylum is granted,’ she said.
On Friday, Assange is to meet with former Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon, who has agreed to act as an attorney for her son. Garzon is best known for issuing an arrest warrant for late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
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-- Cristina Munoz in Ecuador and and Chris Kraul in Bogota, Colombia