Ecuador asks UK for brief safe-conduct pass to let Assange leave asylum for medical check

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Ecuadoran officials are asking the United Kingdom to let WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of his asylum at country's embassy in London briefly for medical checks.

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino says Assange needs an MRI for a pain in his shoulder that began three months ago.

He said Wednesday that Assange needs a safe conduct pass only for "a few hours." Patino said an option is to bring an MRI machine to the embassy.

Assange took refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sexual misconduct and rape of two women. He said he believed that Sweden would send him to the United States to be face charges for the WikiLeaks publication of thousands of classified U.S. government documents.