WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has refused to present himself at a UK police station to start the process of extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault charges.
Assange has been hiding at the Ecuadorean embassy in London since last week, when he made a surprise application for political asylum there. He had been ordered to present himself at a police station on Friday morning.
In an interview with the BBC on Thursday night, Assange said he had no plans to give himself up, and said that his asylum application gave him legal cover.
“Our advice is that asylum law, both domestically and internationally in the UK, takes precedence to extradition law, so the answer is almost certainly not,” he said, when asked if he would report to the police station.
The embassy confirmed that Assange was still inside its flat in the upscale Knightsbridge district of central London.
“The government of Ecuador will continue to foster good relations with the UK government whilst assessing Mr Assange’s application for asylum,” it said in a statement.
The 40-year-old Assange has been fighting a lengthy legal battle since late 2010, when two Swedish women accused him of sexual assault while he was on a trip to Stockholm. He left Sweden before he could be questioned by police.
He was arrested in Britain in December 2010, and has mostly been living under house arrest at the mansion of a wealthy supporter.
Assange denies the charges, and insists they are politically motivated, part of a plot to eventually extradite him to the United States to face charges connected to the release of classified diplomatic cables.