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Assange will remain in Ecuadorian Embassy, spokeswoman says

Julian Assange, seen here on February 1, 2012, will remain inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Story highlights

  • Police serve a notice to Julian Assange to turn himself in
  • The WikiLeaks founder decides not to comply with the order
  • Police say he is in violation of his bail
  • His supporters fear that the United States would try to extradite him

Julian Assange will not honor a notice served to him by British police requiring him to turn himself in to authorities, a representative for the WikiLeaks founder said Friday.

Assange will remain inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been since applying for asylum in the South American country on June 19.

"This should not be considered any sign of disrespect," said Susan Benn of the Julian Assange defense fund, who read the statement.

See yourself as the next Assange? Good luck

Benn said the United States had empaneled a grand jury in its goal to press charges against Assange. Turning himself in would have started a process that would end with Assange being extradited to the United States, she said.

"It is clear that there is a plan to bring Julian Assange to the United States," she said.

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Citing what she called cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of the alleged source of leaked documents, Pfc. Bradley Manning, Benn said that sending Assange to the United States "would be a violation of his rights."

Police say Assange is in violation of his bail by staying at the embassy, and that ignoring the notice to turn himself in is a further violation.

Assange is seeking to avoid being sent to Sweden to avoid allegations of rape and other sex crimes. He has been arrested in absentia, Swedish prosecutors have said.

He was arrested in Britain in 2010 because Swedish authorities wanted to question him about the allegations, which he denies. His bail conditions included staying every night at the home of a supporter outside of London.

Two women have accused Assange of sexually assaulting them in August 2010, when he was visiting Sweden in connection with a WikiLeaks release of internal U.S. military documents. He was arrested in Britain that December and has been fighting extradition ever since, saying the allegations are retribution for his organization's disclosure of American secrets.

WikiLeaks, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, has published about 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, causing embarrassment to the government and others. It also has published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents relating to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Assange sought refuge at the embassy five days after the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom dismissed a bid to reopen his appeal of the decision to send him to Sweden -- his last option in British courts.

It is unclear when Ecuador will make a decision on Assange's asylum request.

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