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Julian Assange Faces Arrest If He Leaves Ecuador Embassy

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa says his government is taking very seriously the asylum request of Wikileaks chief Julian Assange but he's not indicating when a decision will be made.

The leftist president also said in an interview Wednesday with Venezuela's Telesur network in Brazil that he doesn't know Assange personally but felt empathy toward Assange when he interviewed him last month.

Assange took refuge Tuesday in Ecuador's embassy in London as his legal options ran out for avoiding extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning for alleged sex crimes.

His backers say the Swedish charges are just a pretext to get the Australian activist to the United States to stand trial for publishing tens of thousands of secret U.S. documents.

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