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  1. ITV Report

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange requests brief embassy exit for MRI scan

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces arrest if he leaves the Ecuador Embassy. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The Ecuador government has appealed for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be given "safe passage" out of its London embassy for a few hours to undergo an MRI scan on his shoulder.

The Foreign Ministry cited a doctor's note that said Assange, who has been living at the address for over three years, is in "constant pain".

Details of the request to the Foreign Office - which was sent in late September and was rejected - emerged a few days after Scotland Yard removed a 24 hour police guard from the building.

Assange faces arrest if he leaves the embassy. He is seeking to avoid being extradited to Sweden where he faces a sex allegation, which he denies.

Scotland Yard confirmed this week that police officers have stopped guarding the Ecuadorian Embassy. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino read out a letter from Assange's UK doctor, who examined the Australian in August, at a press conference.

He has been suffering with a constant pain to the right shoulder region for the past three months [since June 2015]. There is no history of acute injury to the area. I examined him and all movements of his shoulder (abduction, internal rotation and external rotation) are limited due to pain.

I am unable to elicit the exact cause of his symptoms without the benefit of further diagnostic tests, [including] MRI.

– Letter from Assange's UK doctor

Ecuador wrote to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on September 30 to request that Assange be permitted to go to hospital.

Officials said hospital equipment required to scan Assange's shoulder cannot be brought into the embassy due to its size and weight.

Assange's US lawyer criticised the Foreign Office for "forcing him to choose between the human right to asylum and the human right to medical treatment".

No one should ever have to face that choice. Sweden and the United Kingdom have the responsibility to ensure that Assange's basic rights are respected. They should agree without further delay to permit Mr Assange's safe passage to a hospital on humanitarian grounds.

– Assange's US lawyer Carey Shenkman