Julian Assange Granted Asylum by Ecuador
Assange Wins Asylum
August 16, 2012 – 11:50PM (AEST)
ECUADOR has sparked a major diplomatic standoff, granting political asylum to Julian Assange and in the process slamming the British government for threatening to shut down the London embassy where the WikiLeaks founder has been holed up for the past two months.
The Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said his country had no choice but to offer asylum to Assange due to doubts about the legal process that had led to the whistleblower facing extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.
He said Ecuador found that Assange faces a real threat of political persecution including the threat of extradition to the United States, where Mr Patino said the Australian would not get a fair trial and could face the death penalty.
”Ecuador is convinced that the procedural rights of Mr Assange have been violated,” he said.
Read More: Sydney Morning Herald – Assange Wins Asylum
Related Coverage …
RT Video: Announcement by Ecuador Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino – Ecuador grants asylum to Julian Assange (Youtube)
RT Video – Ecuador grants asylum to Assange – FULL SPEECH by FM Ricardo Patino
RT – Confirmed: Ecuador grants Julian Assange asylum in dramatic standoff
BBC – Julian Assange: Ecuador grants Wikileaks founder asylum
CNN – Ecuador grants asylum to WikiLeaks’ Assange
The Guardian – Julian Assange asylum: Ecuador is right to stand up to the US
Democracy Bow (Video) - Ecuador Grants Julian Assange Asylum; U.S. Seen as “Hidden Hand” Behind U.K. Threat to Raid Embassy
Democracy Now (Video) - Daniel Ellsberg: I Congratulate Ecuador for Standing Up to British Empire to Protect Julian Assange
Xinhua - Ecuadorian president defends decision to offer Assange asylum
Assange has issued a statement via Twitter …
PRESS RELEASE: Julian Assange statement
Thursday August 16, 2012
Assange has hailed the “courageous” act of Ecuador and compared it with the reluctance of Britain and Australia to help him.
In a statement made earlier at the embassy this afternoon, he thanked the staff and went on to pay tribute to Bradley Manning.
“I am grateful to the Ecuadorean people, President Rafael Correa and his government. It was not Britain or my home country, Australia, that stood up to protect me from persecution, but a courageous, independent Latin American nation.
While today is a historic victory, our struggles have just begun. The unprecedented US investigation against WikiLeaks must be stopped.
While today much of the focus will be on the decision of the Ecuadorean government, it is just as important that we remember Bradley Manning has been detained without trial for over 800 days.
The task of protecting WikiLeaks, its staff, its supporters and its alleged sources continues. “
Earlier today a number of Assange supporters were arrested following clashes with the police outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Addtionally, Livestream broadcaster Bambuser Web Site became the target of a sustained and robust DdoS attack. The attack has been claimed by AntiLeaks. Occasional live stream broadcasts can be viewed at Occupy News Network on Ustream.
Related Coverage …
RT Raw Video – First arrests, scuffles at Ecuador embassy before Assange asylum decision (Youtube)
Sydney Morning Herald – Arrests outside Ecuador’s London embassy
Sky News – Arrests outside Ecuador embassy in UK
Video (Bonus! Cool Wikileaks song) – London the day Julian Assange granted asylum by Ecuador (Youtube)
UK Threatens to Raid Ecuador Embassy to Arrest Assange
Hours before Ecuador’s announcement that it would grant asylum to Assange, a former UK ambassador warned in a blog post that he’s learned the British government is planning to raid the embassy to remove the Australian, who is wanted for questioning on sex crime charges allegations in Sweden but believes he will be extradited to the U.S. to face potential charges related to his publishing of troves classified American government documents.
Craig Murray, a former ambassador to Uzbekistan, writes that he “returned to the UK today to be astonished by private confirmation from within the FCO that the UK government has indeed decided – after immense pressure from the Obama administration – to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and seize Julian Assange.”
“This will be, beyond any argument, a blatant breach of the Vienna Convention of 1961, to which the UK is one of the original parties and which encodes the centuries – arguably millennia – of practice which have enabled diplomatic relations to function,” Murray added.
Murray’s comments add confirmation to a statement from the Ecuadorean government Wednesday that it was “deeply shocked” by the British government’s alleged plan to enter the embassy and arrest Assange, who violated his house arrest and bail agreement to take up resident in the embassy two months ago.
Related Coverage …
News.com.au – UK’s Assange threat ‘extreme’: Wikileaks
UK Releases Letter Sent to Ecuador Embassy
In response to reports that the UK Govt threatened to invade the Ecuador Embassy premises in order to arrest Assange, Britain’s Foreign Office have reluctantly published a translation of the correspondence sent to the Embassy earlier this week, insisting the letter was not a threat.
You can read the letter for yourself here. Be assured that the political rhetoric within certainly does threaten to raid the embassy in pursuit of Assange … on the grounds that the UK would revoke Ecuador’s diplomatic use of the Embassy premises! Just lovely! That sounds soooo much better for international relations!
Related Coverage …
RT Video – UK threats help Assange cause, West hostile to whistleblowers (Youtube)
Washington Post – UK ‘threat’ to grab Julian Assange outrages Ecuador, but experts say move risky and unlikely
ABC News (Aust) – Assange case could have wider impact on diplomacy
ENews Park Forest – British Threat to Raid Ecuadorean Embassy is a Grave Violation of Diplomatic Conventions and International Law
Head of Legal – Julian Assange: can the UK withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorian embassy?
Democracy Now (Video) - “Back Off”: Assange Attorney Michael Ratner Urges U.K., U.S. to Respect Asylum Decision, Int’l Law
Newser - Experts say British threat against Ecuadorean Embassy over Assange was a diplomatic blunder
AFP - British threats in WikiLeaks case ‘stupid’ – expert
LA Times - Britain, Sweden have little leverage with Ecuador over Assange
Sydney Morning Herald - In UK threat to Ecuador, experts see mistake
The British Foreign Office is now engaged in a misinformation campaign with the UK Foreign Secretary saying Assange is an “alleged criminal” who is “facing serious charges in a country with the highest standards of law and where his rights are guaranteed. We believe that should be assurance enough for Ecuador and any supporters of Mr Assange.” Firstly, Assange has never been charged. Sweden wants him for questioning in a case of consentual sex without a condom – an opportunity they have been offered on many occasions and have refused, including a period of 5 weeks prior to Assange leaving Sweden with permission from the prosecution in 2010. As for “assurances,” these have also been requested of both Sweden and the US, by the Australian Government and recently Ecuador, during it’s process of determining Assange’s asylum status with the South American country. These “assurances” have never been forthcoming. On these uncertain grounds, Ecuador is well within it’s rights to shelter, what it considers to be, a political refugee.
Also interesting is the following quote in the statement from the UK Foreign Secretary.
Foreign Secretary statement on Ecuadorian Government’s decision to offer political asylum to Julian Assange
The UK does not accept the principle of diplomatic asylum. It is far from a universally accepted concept: the United Kingdom is not a party to any legal instruments which require us to recognise the grant of diplomatic asylum by a foreign embassy in this country. Moreover, it is well established that, even for those countries which do recognise diplomatic asylum, it should not be used for the purposes of escaping the regular processes of the courts. And in this case that is clearly what is happening.
Is that so? Let us consider this recent story of note.
Britain Refuses to Extradite U.S. Sex Crimes Suspect on Human Rights Grounds
“The 43-year-old Sullivan, described by the media in the U.K. and Ireland as “one of America’s most-wanted pedophiles,” is accused of raping a 14-year-old girl and sexually molesting two 11-year-olds in Minnesota in the 1990s. As prosecutors were preparing to file charges against him, Sullivan fled to Ireland where he holds dual citizenship. While there, he was convicted of sexually assaulting two 12-year-old Irish girls, and received a suspended sentence.”
Kinda puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
Related Coverage …
But now apparently, the US has decided it doesnt recognise diplomatic asylum either. However … it seems there’s a whole wikipedia article which states otherwise.
Regardless of his newly acquired asylum status – raid or not – the UK has no intention of allowing Assange unhindered passage out of the country. In his speech granting asylum to Assange (video link above), Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Patino says Ecuador has not ruled out going to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Where to from here?
The Australian – Julian Assange will appeal to the International Court of Justice if Britain blocks his exit to Ecuador
Business Spectator – Assange to appeal if Britain blocks exit
RT - Ecuador may file appeal to ICC if UK refuses Assange safe passage
News.com.au - Assange still a wanted person: Interpol
France24 - Russia issues warning to Britain over Assange
News24 - Assange stalemate could last for ‘years’
New York Times - Assange Faces Long Stay in Ecuador’s London Embassy
Herald Sun - Julian Assange ‘can stay in embassy indefinitely’ Rafael Correa says
Daily Mail - Cost of WikiLeaks siege farce hits £1m as Julian Assange hides out in threadbare room with just a sunlamp, treadmill and internet connection
Presna Latina - ALBA Takes Assange Political Asylum to UN and OAS Agendas
RT - Americas bloc foreign ministers (OAS) to meet over UK threats to storm Ecuadorian Embassy
Irish Times - Ecuador seeks regional support over Assange row
The Delta World - Ecuador mobilizes the Latin American diplomacy to the deadlock of Assange
Merco Press - Latam support for Ecuador could turn Assange case in another ‘Falklands issue’ for UK
LA Times - Ecuador urges other countries to protect its London embassy
Sydney Morning Herald - Americas to meet over Assange stand-off
WikiLeaks Twitter – ANNOUNCEMENT: Julian Assange will give a live statement infront of the Ecuadorian embassy, Sunday 2pm. (London time)
Don’t go outside the Embassy, Julian …
Lying All Along – Australian Officials Aware the US is Still in Pursuit of Assange
AUSTRALIAN diplomats have no doubt the United States is still gunning for Julian Assange, according to Foreign Affairs Department documents obtained by The Saturday Age.
The Australian embassy in Washington has been tracking a US espionage investigation targeting the WikiLeaks publisher for more than 18 months.
The declassified diplomatic cables, released under freedom of information laws, show Australia’s diplomatic service takes seriously the likelihood that Assange will eventually be extradited to the US on charges arising from WikiLeaks obtaining leaked US military and diplomatic documents.
This view is at odds with Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s repeated dismissal of such a prospect.
Australia’s ambassador to the US, former Labor leader Kim Beazley, has made high-level representations to the American government, asking for warning of any moves to prosecute Assange. However, briefings for Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Carr suggest the Australian Government has no in-principle objection to Assange’s extradition.
American responses to the embassy’s representations have been withheld from release on the grounds that disclosure could “cause damage to the international relations of the Commonwealth”.
Further proving Julian Assange has been right to be worried all along, and that Ecuador made the intelligent and logical choice on Thursday. Thanks Ecuador! And yes, the US and Australian Govt can expect public backlash for lying to us for so long (yet again) — and yes, you canbloody well bet that this is going to damage our relationship! These documents should also provide grounds to redo his UK extradition hearing from the start as there is new evidence proving his case (of which Im sure the UK was already aware but are just lying too).
Related Coverage …
Sydney Morning Herald – US intends to chase Assange, cables show
AFP - Australia believes US wants to prosecute Assange: report
The Brisbane Times - US intends to chase Assange, cables show
SBS - Cables show ‘US seeks Assange’
AFP - Australia ‘preparing’ for Assange extradition to US
The Hindu - Australia “preparing” for Assange extradition to U.S.
ABC News (Aust) - Carr denies US is pursuing Assange extradition
Orly, Bob? You’re just gonna keep lying about it? So what’s this then?
DFAT.gov.au - FOI Disclosure Log No. 12/8256 (PDF)