(SkyNews) Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the country’s London embassy for more than five years.

Ecuador’s foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said Assange was naturalised as a citizen on 12 December, at his request.

It comes after Britain’s Foreign Office said on Thursday that it had rejected Ecuador’s request to grant diplomatic status to Assange, which would give him immunity from arrest.

Ecuador gave Assange political asylum after he sought refuge in its London embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face a rape allegation, which he denies.

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