LONDON -- WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange has made a run for the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, seeking asylum in a long shot move that, if successful, would place him in a small, friendly South American country rather than in Sweden facing questioning about alleged sex crimes.
Tuesday's unexpected caper has added a new and bizarre twist to Assange's increasingly desperate bid to avoid extradition to Scandinavia. Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said the leftist government of President Rafael Correa was weighing the request.
Assange said he was grateful "to the Ecuadorean ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application."
Assange's legal options in the U.K. had almost
Ecuador -- where less than one in three people have access to the Web -- may seem an unlikely place for the former computer hacker to seek refuge, but in many ways it's an obvious choice.
"It's one of the few countries that has given a great opening to Assange's entire cause," said Grace Jaramillo, an international relations professor at Ecuador's
Assange argues that extradition to Sweden is a first step in efforts to remove him to the United States, where he claims to have been secretly indicted over his disclosure of 250,000 State Department cables.