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Assange considering offer to appear before U.S. Senate committee

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Assange considering offer to appear before U.S. Senate committee
FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File photo   -   Copyright  Peter Nicholls(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for six years, is considering an offer to appear before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, his lawyer said on Thursday.

“The U.S. Senate Select Committee request confirms their interest in hearing from Mr Assange,” lawyer Jennifer Robinson said in a statement.

“The inquiry has asked for him to appear in person at a mutually agreeable time and place. We are seriously considering the offer but must ensure Mr Assange’s protection is guaranteed.”

On Wednesday, WikiLeaks published a letter which it said was from the committee, asking Assange to make himself available to appear for a closed interview.

Assange has been living in the embassy since he was granted asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questions about allegations of sex crimes, accusations that were later dropped.

However, he would be arrested by British police for breaching bail conditions should he leave the building and he has always said he fears being extradited to the United States for having published a huge cache of U.S. diplomatic and military secrets on the WikiLeaks website.

(Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by Stephen Addison)

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