Julian Assange requests asylum at Ecuador embassy

LazyLion

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jun/20/julian-assange-asylum-ecuador-embassy-live

Julian Assange seeking asylum in Ecuadorean embassy in London
WikiLeaks founder walked into the embassy and asked for asylum under the United Nations human rights declaration
Julian Assange has asked for asylum at Ecuador's embassy in London. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
Julian Assange has dramatically sought political asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, days after the supreme court rejected the last of his appeals against extradition to Sweden to face sex crime accusations and after what he called a "declaration of abandonment" by his own government in Australia.
In a move that appears to have surprised even some of his closest supporters, the WikiLeaks founder walked into the country's embassy in Knightsbridge and asked for asylum, citing the UN declaration of human rights.
"I can confirm I arrived at the Ecuadorean embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum," Assange said in a statement.
"This application has been passed to the ministry of foreign affairs in the capital Quito. I am grateful to the Ecuadorean ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application."
The audacious bid came less than a week after the supreme court finally rejected his appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in connection with accusations of the rape of one woman and sexual assault on another in August 2010, which he denies.
Assange and his supporters have argued that his removal to Sweden could be followed by a possible onward extradition to the US on potential espionage charges, saying he is at risk of the death penalty.
The US government opened a grand jury investigation in May 2011 into the passing of hundreds of thousands of secret US embassy cables to WikiLeaks, the first stage in a process of deciding whether or not to prosecute Assange. No request for extradition to the US has been made, however.
In a statement on its site, WikiLeaks said that in a meeting with Assange's legal adviser in May, the Australian government had issued "an effective 'declaration of abandonment', refusing to protect Mr Assange, or make any requests on his behalf".
Assange had been given until 28 June to lodge an appeal against the UK court's decision at the European court of human rights in Strasbourg. Some legal commentators have doubted whether Assange would have strong grounds to take his appeal to the court in Strasbourg.
He may have decided on his dramatic switch in tactics having been discouraged about his chances of success in Europe's highest court. Assange is currently on £240,000 police bail, a sum posted by a number of high-profile friends and supporters. Last month Assange interviewed the socialist Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa for his TV show The World Tomorrow, broadcast on the Russian state-sponsored channel Russia Today. The WikiLeaks founder described Correa as "a leftwing populist who has changed the face of Ecuador".
It was unclear whether any explicit or informal offer of asylum had been made by the president during the interview, though the country's deputy foreign minister said in 2010 that Ecuador would offer him residency without conditions.
Assange's presence will focus attention on the extent of diplomatic immunity for foreign embassies in the UK. In a statement, the Ecuadorean embassy said: "This afternoon Mr Julian Assange arrived at the Ecuadorean embassy seeking political asylum from the Ecuadorean government. We have immediately passed his application on to the relevant department in Quito. While the department assesses Mr Assange's application, Mr Assange will remain at the embassy, under the protection of the Ecuadorean government."
"The decision to consider Mr Assange's application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden."
"As Mr Assange is in the Ecuadorean embassy he is on diplomatic territory and beyond the reach of the police," the Foreign Office said. "We will seek to work with the Ecuadorean authorities to resolve this situation as soon as possible."
Ecuador's justice system and record on free speech have been called into question by a number of campaigning organisations including Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Amnesty International.
"I think this is ironic that you have a journalist, or an activist, seeking political asylum from a government that has – after Cuba – the poorest record of free speech in the region, and the practice of persecuting local journalists when the government is upset by their opinions or their research," said José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division.
In April 2011, Ecuador expelled the US ambassador Heather Hodges following the publication of diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks alleging widespread corruption within the Ecuadorean police. The WikiLeaks founder has been in custody and on bail in the UK since autumn 2010. The activist Jemima Khan confirmed on Twitter that she had put up bail for Assange, saying: "I had expected him to face the allegations. I am as surprised as anyone by this."
The Australian journalist Phillip Knightley, said he had also offered £20,000 in surety for Assange, but he had no regrets about putting his money at stake. "I'm not worried about my commitment. I would do it again. He's an Australian and he deserves my compatriot's support. He's been treated terribly by the British and Swedish justice systems and I think he's the victim of a conspiracy." Assange, he said, had sought asylum only "after exhausting every other possible remedy".
Vaughan Smith, the founder of the Frontline Club in whose Norfolk mansion Assange spent much of his period on bail, said: "I certainly didn't expect this to happen." "One deduces from it that he doesn't feel he's going to get justice by going to Sweden. I feel sure that Julian will have gone to the embassy feeling that he wasn't going to get justice otherwise. I do feel he's been painted unfavourably."
Assange has not been charged with any crime in Sweden, and vehemently denies any wrongdoing in relation to the two women. Joakim Nergelius, a professor of jurisprudence and law at Örebro University, told the Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter that since the basis of Sweden's extradition request is the European arrest warrant, it was "quite impossible to assess the possible legal implications" should he be granted asylum.
The Ministry of Justice said that responsibility for handling his extradition rested with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) which deals with European arrest warrant requests. Neither Soca, the Metropolitan police, whose extradition unit arrested Assange in December 2010, nor the Crown Prosecution Service would comment.

lol, what happened to going back to Sweden to prove his innocence? :rolleyes:

He mus think that the US will get hold of him through the authorities in Sweden and that breaking his bail conditions in England and going to live in Exile in Ecuador is better then facing the US. Anyway, pretty amazing events.
 

D.B.Cooper

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Wonder why he didn't go to the Venezuelan embassy? They would have welcomed him with open arms. :D
 

killadoob

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Gary you are one of the people who never wanted all those juicy details revealed.
 

MickZA

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jun/20/julian-assange-asylum-ecuador-embassy-live



lol, what happened to going back to Sweden to prove his innocence? :rolleyes:

He mus think that the US will get hold of him through the authorities in Sweden and that breaking his bail conditions in England and going to live in Exile in Ecuador is better then facing the US. Anyway, pretty amazing events.

I'm actually sick and tired of Assange's ego & publicity seeking. Given the so called US / UK "Special Relationship" I'm sure he'd be in the US already if they really wanted him - by fair means or foul.

He has still to make a good case for not getting a fair trial in Sweden and I don't follow the reasoning behind Sweden being more likely to extradite him than the UK.
 
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killadoob

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You would need to google sweden extradition and the UK to understand why he is worried.
 

copacetic

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Julian Assange was scheduled within days to turn himself over to British authorities for extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in connection with a sexual assault case in which he has never been charged. Instead, Assange earlier today went to the Embassy of Ecuador in London and sought asylum from that country under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, issued a statement indicating that his government is “evaluating the request” and that Assange will remain under protection at the Embassy pending a decision.

Ecuador may seem like a random choice but it’s actually quite rational. In 2010, a top official from that country offered Assange residency (though the Ecuadorian President backtracked after controversy ensued). Earlier this month, Assange interviewed that nation’s left-wing President, Rafael Correa, for his television program on RT. Among other things, Correa praised the transparency brought about by WikiLeaks’ release of diplomatic cables as being beneficial for Ecuador (“We have nothing to hide. If anything, the WikiLeaks [releases] have made us stronger”). President Correa also was quite critical of the U.S., explaining the reason he closed the American base in his country this way: “Would you accept a foreign military base in your country? It’s so simple, as I said that at the time, there is no problem in having a U.S. military base in Ecuador but ok, perfect - we can give permission for the intelligence base only if they allow us to install an Ecuadorian base in the United States, a military base. That’s it, no more problem.”

Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden for a year-and-a-half now, during which time he has been under house arrest. He has never been charged with any crime in Sweden, but a prosecutor from that country is seeking his extradition to question him. After the British High Court ruled against him by a 5-2 vote earlier this month, and then refused to re-hear the case last week, his appeals in Britain contesting the extradition are exhausted.

Assange’s resolve to avoid extradition to Sweden has nothing to do with a reluctance to face possible sex assault charges there. His concern all along has been that once he’s in Swedish custody, he will far more easily be extradited to the U.S.

In general, small countries are more easily coerced and bullied by the U.S., and Sweden in particular has a demonstrated history of aceeding to U.S. demands when it comes to individuals accused of harming American national security. In December, 2001, Sweden handed over two asylum-seekers to the CIA, which then rendered them to be tortured in Egypt. A ruling from the U.N. Human Rights Committee found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for its role in that rendition (the two individuals later received a substantial settlement from the Swedish government). The fact that Sweden has unusually oppressive pre-trial procedures — allowing for extreme levels of secrecy in its judicial proceedings — only heightens Assange’s concern about what will happen to him vis-a-vis the U.S. if he ends up in Swedish custody.

http://www.salon.com/2012/06/19/assange_asks_ecuador_for_asylum/singleton/
 

killadoob

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So the man has very good reason for refusing to return to Sweden.

Of course, if he is forced to go sweden, it will be a matter of hours before the US grab him. It's game over for him from there.

He isn't worried about stupid accusations of rape, that is an obvious setup, as obvious as the ex imf leader who was accused in the US but it was effective to get ignorant people to believe he was a rapist and deflect from all the information he revealed.

You can tell the UK are bending to the US on this one,
http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2012/03/31/no-extradition-for-shrien-dewani-for-now/

A murderer can fight it but a man who has not even got a criminal case against him is being deported yet some believe the UK are not bowing to the US. Epic.
 
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MickZA

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You would need to google sweden extradition and the UK to understand why he is worried.

OK, but on the bright side if he is granted asylum in Ecuador he should fade from the spotlight pretty fast which is fine by me :)

Of course the following might have influenced his preferred asylum destination :D

Rape and sexual assault is a persistent problem in Ecuador.

source: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/south-america/ecuador
 

LazyLion

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So those were his choices....

1) Go to Sweden and be found guilty of sex crimes, if was really guilty, then great.
2) Go to Sweden and be found guilty of sex crimes, if he was not really guilty, then he plays the martyr.
3) Go to Sweden and be extradited to the USA, he plays the martyr.
4) Go on the run, and look like a criminal for the rest of your life.

Not great choices, but I'm still not sure he made the best choice... even his best friends are going :wtf:
 

killadoob

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what exactly have wikileaks reveal that was so controversial?

You are kidding me right? www.google.com and type in wiki leaks reveals secrets.

The most damaging one for me was a chopper pilot who gunned down innocent people, covered that u and the people involved were never brought to book. There is so much stuff you need to google on this one.

Most people ignored it when they heard about the rape allegations but it was seriously damaging for the US, specially the iraq war stuff. Some people still believe that helicopter incident should have been kept secret.

http://www.spiegel.de/international...tails-of-dubious-apache-attacks-a-724819.html

Seriously dude google is your best mate and with so much info you best get busy :p

Gary you want the US to grab him, you were very upset when wikileaks revealed all that stuff about your beloved government, all you want is revenge.

Why shouldhe become a martyr though? Some people just want him to disappear and he won't. His rt program is very popular and it fits well because he interviews mostly anti west people.
 
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Arthur

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I am soo sick of Assange and his putrid prattlings. Saw him on telly the other day 'facilitating' a workshop-huddle-agitprop-thingie with earnest-but-ironic Occupiers. It was unbearably tedious, predictable and painful.

The man should be banished, and Ecuador will do, I s'pose.
 

LazyLion

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Gary you want the US to grab him, you were very upset when wikileaks revealed all that stuff about your beloved government, all you want is revenge.
Why shouldhe become a martyr though? Some people just want him to disappear and he won't. His rt program is very popular and it fits well because he interviews mostly anti west people.

haha, I wanted the US to grab him cos he is a tosser and a media whore... look at what he has gone and done now! :D
This is better than a soap opera. He wants to play the James Bond lifestyle, but he is more like Mr. Bean and the CIA!
 

killadoob

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haha, I wanted the US to grab him cos he is a tosser and a media whore... look at what he has gone and done now! :D
This is better than a soap opera. He wants to play the James Bond lifestyle, but he is more like Mr. Bean and the CIA!

Yea but he wasn't a media whore when the story broke, you never even knew about him. I recall you being rather vocal about military secrets remaining secrets or some BS. I would have to go dig deep to find the posts

Something you would not have said if say saddam or qaddafi secrets were revealed.
 

LazyLion

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Yea but he wasn't a media whore when the story broke, you never even knew about him. I recall you being rather vocal about military secrets remaining secrets or some BS. I would have to go dig deep to find the posts

Something you would not have said if say saddam or qaddafi secrets were revealed.

He has always been a media whore from day one.
 

killadoob

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Whatever gary, you know why you want him nailed. Each to their own but regardless of his personality he took on america could be about to lose.

That is life for you, very few people win when they F with the US but at least their are people who will fight against them.

I still find it laughable that assange is being extradited but dewani has yet to be. A murderer sits back in the uk while a man with no case against him is being deported. Shows when the US want something it will happen. All we can hope is Ecuador come to the party.
 
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