Wikileaks founder Julian Assange granted asylum by Ecuador

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange granted asylum by Ecuador

Summary: Ecuador says Assange would face a genuine threat of deportation to the US if the UK hands him over to Sweden, which wants to question the Wikileaks founder over allegations of sexual coercion

TOPICS: Security, Censorship

Ecuador has agreed to grant asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Julian Assange
Julian Assange

The country's foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, made the announcement on Thursday afternoon, saying Assange faced a real risk of deportation to the US if he were sent from the UK to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sexual coercion. He said Assange was unlikely to face a fair trial in the US.

"Mr Assange could be susceptible to great danger and his personal security threatened," Patiño said, noting that neither the UK nor Sweden had given any promise that Assange would not be sent to the US. He also said the US had refused to give guarantees about Assange's safety if he were to be sent there.

Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's Knightsbridge embassy since June, when he lost his fight against extradition to Sweden. The Wikileaks founder has not been charged with anything, but a European Arrest Warrant issued by Sweden means the UK is obliged to send him there.

Assange fears that Sweden would then hand him over to the US, where he may face charges relating to the Cablegate leaks of 2010 — no charges have been revealed yet, but if they do exist, they would have been pre-prepared then sealed.

Which way out?

Patiño said Ecuador had requested safe passage for Assange out of the UK. However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office told ZDNet earlier on Thursday that the UK would not agree to such a request.

The Metropolitan Police have already said they will arrest him as soon as he steps out the door, for breaking his bail conditions.

On Wednesday, the Ecuadorian government said the UK had threatened to revoke the embassy's diplomatic status, a move which would allow the police to go in and arrest Assange.

Patiño said on Thursday afternoon that the UK government was "manifesting its open intention to resort to... the use of force as a method of resolving the situation, which had until now been dealt with in a friendly and diplomatic manner".

He added that he had asked Latin American regional bodies to come up with a regional response to "make it clear that this kind of impunity should not be allowed".

Topics: Security, Censorship

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • shouldn't UK

    Shouldn't UK just minds its own business and start paying off its Olympic debt already? Its got a bigger problem on its hands then to deal with misleading charges probably made up or USA interests. the 1% doesn't like to be exposed, and the defiantly don't like paying taxes, so why does the government even bother with them.
    • PS

      PS: Euro zone is a joke. Don't let it control you , because who knows whose controlling it.
    • taxes

      23% tax rate anyone? Or will it go up to 25%? Last time I was in Europe it was 21% going to 23%. Corporate interests bypass taxes so its fellow people have to pay it all. Also investors/share holders funnel money threw big corporations so they can pay less then 6% tax on money earned threw the company.
      • Taxes

        Gee this sounds suspiciously like what the US is voting on this fall! Lower taxes for the wealthy and higher taxes for the middle class (or soon to be lower class).
    • no

    • They are minding their own business

      They were served with an extradition demand (that's what it amounts to); the courts have found it to be valid, so they are bound by treaty to honor it.

      The "minding someone else's business" approach would have been to second guess the Swedish authorities who issued it.
      John L. Ries
  • Hmm

    Does this guy really think he is safe anywhere?
    • he might be

      at guantanamo Cuba.
      LlNUX Geek
  • Just delaying the inevitable

    criminals always have distain, and disregard the law until they need it's help. Then all of a sudden they claim "I have asylum, you can not touch me, by law".
    William Farrel
    • Quite the assumption

      That's quite the assumption, there, calling him a criminal when he hasn't been charged and, more importantly, convicted, of any crime for which he's wanted. He's wanted for questioning, that's all (so we're told).
      • Then he shouldn't have anything to hide

        Now should he...
        • to please Sammy

          >>Then he shouldn't have anything to hide
          In the perfect world this is what you assume... However, with all of what he's been leaking so far the prospects of being mistreated are immensely high. When, both the Swedes and Britts try to assure him of no intent of handing over to the Americans, he's ... got his doubts. The hot Swedish gals he had had sex with apparently held nothing against him, until he started leaking about the American wrongdoings .... hmmm, what a coincidence?
          Good ol' uncle Sammy wants his blood so dearly, it's certainly worth instigating some bitches in UK and Sweden ... i.e., the said governments.
          Lord, save the Queen!
        • wow

          "Then he shouldn't have anything to hide

          Now should he..."

          Are you really that naive?
          Scarface Claw
          • wow

            Just wait till Assange bends over for the FBI

            And he will. It's only a matter of time
      • Yeah

        So, why run then?
        • I guess...

          you just have more confidence in government -- any government -- than is deserved.
          sissy sue
        • Why run?

          Why didn't the Swedish authorities interview Mr. Assange before telling him he was free to leave the country?

          And since Mr. Assange still hasn't been charged with a crime in Sweden, why did the Swedish prosecutor say that he would be detained without bail the instant he reached Sweden?

          And why did the Swedish prosecutor refuse to interview Mr. Assange by video link?
  • OK, true enough. But then why not go back, or does he feel his accuser

    doesn't have the right to face her attacker?

    He always wants to make it about him, but isn't it really about the women he is being investigated for in reference to rape?

    What about them, or does he even care?
    William Farrel
    • Do try to catch up, will you...

      He's already faced them. He's already subjected himself to questioning. It wasn't until he left that they suddenly decided they wanted him back, immediately post-cablegate. There was no rape, it's all clearly a set-up and to discuss the situation in any other context merely exposes your own ignorance of the situation as a whole.
      I imagine the foreign minister of Ecuador's assertion that this is all a ploy to get Assange deported to the US to face espionage charges pretty much explains things, and it's right there in the first paragraph.
      • Yes, it's all a setup

        It's always a set. Heck most rapes don't happen, they're all just after something.
        William Farrel