WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been handed a letter saying he must present himself to a London police station tomorrow, according to sources.
Mr Assange has been holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for nine days, seeking political asylum as part of his bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sex offences.
It is understood that officers from the Metropolitan Police’s extradition unit delivered a note to the embassy this morning saying Mr Assange has to present himself to Belgravia police station at 11.30am tomorrow.
Sources said a letter was also delivered for Mr Assange.
Mr Assange has called for diplomatic guarantees he will not be pursued by the US for publishing secret documents if he goes to Sweden to face allegations of sex assault.
The Australian, 40, said he is prepared to go to Sweden to face questioning over the claims, but fears Stockholm will turn him over to the U.S. where he could face espionage and conspiracy charges over revelations by WikiLeaks.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he suddenly arrived seeking a last-ditch bid for political asylum last Tuesday, he said: ‘Ultimately it may be a matter of what guarantees the United Kingdom, the United States and Sweden are willing to provide’.
Mr Assange believes Washington will pursue him after WikiLeaks published a cache of sensitive documents, including about the Afghan and Iraq wars, and thousands of diplomatic cables which have embarrassed governments worldwide.
He said: ‘For example, if the US were to guarantee (it would) drop the grand jury investigation and any further investigation of WikiLeaks publishing activity, that would be an important guarantee… diplomatic commitments do have some weight.’
Mr Assange has been holed up in the Ecuador embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden following the failure of a bid to re-open an appeal against his removal from the country.
Mr Assange is friendly with the South American country’s socialist leader Rafael Correa and embassies are regarded as ‘safe havens’ which British police cannot enter.
Veteran journalist John Pilger last week said the Ecuadorians were being very hospitable and had provided Mr Assange with a ‘fairly big room with a computer’ although he would not confirm whether he had been given a bed for his stay.
Ecuador says he is under its protection while it considers the asylum application. He faces arrest for breaching the terms of his bail if he leaves the Knightsbridge building.
On Monday, a letter signed by high profile campaigner Michael Moore and film director Oliver Stone calling for Julian Assange to be granted asylum was handed into the embassy.
Robert Naiman, director of Just Foreign Policy – an American organisation dedicated to reforming U.S foreign policy – gave the Ecuadorian Consul Fidel Narvaez on the steps of the Hans St embassy just after 4.30pm.
Mr Naiman said those who had signed the letter, including radical academic Noam Chomsky and actor Danny Glover, were concerned about Mr Assange’s fate if his application is rejected.
‘Our concern is that if Julian is sent to Sweden that the government of Sweden maybe send him to the United States where he may be prosecuted under the Espionage Act’ Mr Naiman said.
‘Many people in the United States are very concerned about this, are very concerned about Julian and the US campaign and hopefully president Correa can give him a positive decision in this case’.
Accepting the documents, Mr Narvaez said ‘Mr Assange is under the protection of the Ecuadorian state, as you know.
‘(The letter) will be sent to president Correa…we will make sure he get’s it.’
Over the weekend, the Ecuadorian Ambassador left London to return to her home country for talks on the bid. Anna Alban is to meet President Correa in the capital Quito, where she will personally brief him on the situation.
Speaking after visiting Assange today, Mr Naiman said Mr Assange was in ‘good spirits’ despite living in ‘modest’ surroundings.
‘My sense is that Julian is used to simple living,’ said Mr Naiman. ‘I’d say he is living now as I did when I was an undergraduate in college – in what looked to me like a study that’s been converted into a makeshift bedroom that’s still functioning as a study and workspace.’
Asked whether Assange was sleeping on an inflatable mattress, Mr Naiman said: ‘I won’t deny that it’s an inflatable bed.’
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson, who also visited Mr Assange today, said ‘little had changed’ regarding the asylum application.
Mr Hrafnsson said: ‘The Ecuadorian government has requested material both from Julian and from authorities in Sweden, the UK and US before they make a formal decision.’
Mr Hrafnsson said reports that the Swedish Government had ruled out guaranteeing Mr Assange won’t be extradited to the United States were of ‘grave concern’.
‘I don’t have understanding whether this is the official position of the Swedish government, but it’s of grave concern,’ he added.
However, he said Mr Assange was in ‘good spirits’ and keeping busy, adding: ‘He’s working, doing what we are supposed to be doing, Wikileaks.’
Meanwhile, Mr Assange, who wants to start a new life in the South American country, has again criticised Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard over Canberra’s handling of his case.
He said: ‘I have been attacked by the U.S., from the vice president down, as a high-tech terrorist, and by the Swedish prime minister and foreign minister — surely that requires some direct response from the Gillard government.’
Mr Assange has said he chose Ecuador’s embassy instead of his home country’s because he felt Canberra had done nothing to protect him, a charge the government has denied.
Canberra has said it has limited capacity to help him because he is not in Australia and has not broken any Australian laws.
Australia has also dismissed the idea that Washington is keen to get Mr Assange, with Foreign Minister Bob Carr saying Sunday there was ‘no hint’ of a plan to extradite him to the U.S.
Last week, Ecuador’s President said the South American nation would have to consider ‘whether Assange’s life is at stake’, as it makes it decision on asylum.
President Correa told BBC Mundo the country ‘defends the right to live’.
President Correa also said: ‘We are analysing Julian Assange’s asylum request in a very serious and responsible way. We can’t give an official response until the analysis of his request is complete.’
Mr Assange requested political asylum under the UN Human Rights Declaration, ironic given Ecuador’s poor record on human rights and free speech.
He is set to be extradited to Sweden, where he faces accusations of raping a woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in Stockholm in August 2010 while on a visit to give a lecture.
Mr Assange says the sex was consensual and the allegations against him are politically motivated.
Meanwhile, his bid to avoid extradition has left his celebrity backers, including socialist Jemima Khan, facing an embarrassing £240,000 financial headache after they stumped up the cash to keep him out of jail.
Asked on Twitter whether she was ‘on the hook’ for his breach of bail, she replied: ‘Yes. I had expected him to face the allegations. I am as surprised as anyone by this.’
Bianca Jagger, film-makers Michael Moore and Ken Loach, and journalists John Pilger and Tariq Ali were among those who offered to support Mr Assange’s bail while he fought a legal battle to avoid being sent to Sweden.
Those who did stand surety for Mr Assange – freed on bail in December 2010 after spending nine days in Wandsworth jail when held under a European arrest warrant issued by the Swedes – risked losing their money the minute he walked into the embassy, just yards from Harrods.
Daily Mail UK