WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted Ecuadorian citizenship after years of living at the nation’s embassy in London to avoid extradition. Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador’s foreign minister, said on Thursday that officials accepted Assange’s request in December. “What naturalization does is provide the asylum seeker another layer of protection,” she said. Assange has been in refuge at the embassy since he initially sought to avoid extradition to Sweden for sexual-assault charges that have since been dropped. He has remained there over concerns he’d be arrested for jumping bail and over fears that the U.S. could request extradition over his leaking of classified federal documents.