(QUITO, Ecuador) — How long might WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have to live at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London? It could be days, months or even years.
Assange has been granted asylum by Ecuador which he sought to stop his extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault charges brought by two women.
Ecuador agrees with Assange that Sweden might turn around and hand him over to U.S. authorities who are anxious to try Assange for publishing thousands of formerly classified State and Defense Department documents on his website.
As long as Assange stays on the grounds of the Ecuadorian mission, he’s safe. Otherwise, British police are free to arrest him and begin his extradition to Sweden.
However, the controversy could be put to rest immediately, according to Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, if Britain just allowed Assange to travel to South America without conditions.
Otherwise, Correa told the BBC, the standoff “could go on for months and years if Mr. Assange can’t leave the embassy of Ecuador in London.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis and Steve Almasy, CNN
Marisa Russell, CNN
Mohammed Tawfeeq, Joe Sterling and Susanna Capelouto, CNN