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Ecuador recalls envoy to discuss Assange

Published: 23 Jun 2012 09:43 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Jun 2012 09:43 GMT+02:00

Ecuador on Friday recalled its ambassador to Britain to discuss the political asylum application filed by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange this week.

"We are calling our ambassador back for consultations because this is a very serious matter," President Rafael Correa said.

Assange, an Australian national, sought refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy on Tuesday and asked Quito to give him asylum as he seeks to avoid extradition to

Sweden on allegations of rape, fearing Stockholm will turn him over to the United States.

WikiLeaks enraged Washington by releasing a flood of classified US information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables that embarrassed a slew of governments.

"We are going to proceed cautiously, responsibly and seriously in this case, without bowing to absolutely any pressure," Correa said.

Ecuador's ambassador Ana Alban met with British authorities on Wednesday, and Correa said they had had a "very courteous communication" on London's "point of view."

"We will take it into account, but Ecuador will make the final decision" on whether to grant Assange's request, he added.

"He says his life is in danger if he is extradited to the United States where they have the death penalty for political crimes," Correa said. "He says this is political persecution and that the charges against him are a hoax."

Assange, a former computer hacker, told Australia's ABC radio Friday of his fears that he would end up in the hands of the United States, which he says wants to try him for divulging US secrets.

But he conceded there was no current US indictment against him.

"Of course not, at the moment the matter is before the grand jury," he told ABC. "Until it comes out of the grand jury there will not be such evidence

afforded."

Correa, who has often been at odds with Washington, appeared to agree with Assange that the charges of rape and sexual assault he faces in Sweden had little substance.

"They are pretty dubious, to say the least," he said, arguing that "no-one was violated, assaulted against their will, or abused."

"This was a consensual relationship, but in Sweden it is considered rape if proper protection is not used, and you don't say that you are not using protection. But otherwise this was a consenting relationship with two women."

Correa stressed however that his comments did not prejudge what Ecuador's decision would be on Assange's request for asylum.

"We will make a decision at the right moment, and it will be a sovereign decision. Ecuador is not for sale, we won't negotiate away our rights to grant asylum or not to any of the citizens of the world."

Assange has said he chose Ecuador's embassy instead of that of his home country's because he felt Canberra had done nothing to protect him, a charge the government has denied.

"There are serious issues here, and they are being hidden by the slimy rhetoric coming out of the US ambassador to Australia, via (Australian Prime Minister Julia) Gillard... and that needs to stop," said Assange.

Assange will remain inside the embassy while Ecuador considers his request, a process that could take "hours or days," a spokesman for the whistleblower website said Thursday.

Britain's Supreme Court last week threw out Assange's application to reopen his appeal against extradition to Sweden after a marathon legal battle.

He has until June 28th to lodge an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, after which the extradition process can begin.

Assange is on £200,000 ($315,000) bail, put up by celebrity supporters including filmmaker Ken Loach and Jemima Khan, the former wife of Pakistan cricket captain turned politician Imran Khan.

The asylum bid is the most dramatic twist yet in a case dating back to December 2010, when Assange was first detained in London on a European arrest warrant.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:36 June 23, 2012 by Fred Johnsson
The world is watching the corruption that he exposed! Now they are trying to cover it up and shut him up?

Not even his own country is protecting him?

Wicked, corrupt and EVIL!
13:32 June 23, 2012 by Takea chance onme
Really? Cult following continues.
14:58 June 23, 2012 by bcterry
"He says his life is in danger if he is extradited to the United States where they have the death penalty for political crimes," Correa said. "He says this is political persecution and that the charges against him are a hoax."

LOL, hilarious, LMAO.

Assange failed to tell us that last time America carried out an execution for political crimes.

October 1980 - David Henry Barnett, a retired CIA officer pleaded guilty to espionage charges, admitting that he had sold CIA secrets to the Soviets. He was sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment and was paroled in 1990. He died on November 19, 1993.

May 1985 - John Anthony Walker, a retired United States Naval Chief Warrant Officer was arrested for selling encryption information and other classified documents to the Soviet Union, starting in 1967. He was convicted of espionage and is serving a sentence in a federal prison.

June 1986 - Jonathan Jay Pollard, a United States Naval civilian intelligence analyst was convicted on one count of spying for Israel, receiving a life sentence with a recommendation against parole.

August 1988 - Clyde Lee Conrad, a member of the United States military was arrested for selling NATO defense plans to Hungary from 1974 to 1988. He was convicted by a German court of treason and espionage in 1990 and died in prison.

June 1990 - Ronald Hoffman was arrested for selling classified software that he developed for Science Applications International Corporation under a contract for the United States Air Force to foreign companies. He was convicted in 1992 of violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.[1]

February 1991 - Charles Lee Francis Anzalone, a Corporal in the United States Marines, was arrested for attempted espionage after passing documents and a security badge to an FBI agent posing as a KGB intelligence officer. He was convicted in May and sentenced to 15 years in prison for this and other charges.[1]

April 1991 - Jeffrey Carney was arrested for providing classified documents to the East German government between 1982 and 1984, while stationed in Berlin with the United States Air Force. He deserted and defected to East Germany in 1985. He pleaded guilty to espionage, conspiracy, and desertion and was sentenced to 38 years in prison, but was released after 11 years.[1]

And on and on it goes.

For full list google,

"United States government security breaches"
16:44 June 23, 2012 by Nomark
Assange also neglected to mention that EU countries never extradite if there is a possibility of the death sentence.

Then again, in Assange world, fantasy long ago replaced fact.
17:33 June 23, 2012 by klubbnika
It's not a consensual realtionship when he forces himself on a sleeping woman in the morning and has an intercourse with her without her permission. Just because she said yes a night before doesn't mean she says yes now. However, for Assange it is all a so called "sex by surprise" and is perfectly acceptable. Vile!
17:46 June 23, 2012 by Nomark
A very interesting aspect of this story is how the faithful uncritically lap up everything he says. Ironically they consider themselves to the ones "in the know" concerning how this evil world works yet don't seem to be able to apply even a little scepticism to the statements of their hero.
18:47 June 23, 2012 by AHA
I don´t understand Assange. Doesn´t he want to clean up his reputation? What more, if the US were really interested of taking him they could just have asked and Britain would gladly have delivered him. Britain is the US best ally in the world. And for Sweden´s part, couldn´t he be interrogated in England? After all both England and Sweden are in the EU and there must be some law or agreement concerning similar cases. It´s a pity that the idea behind Wikileaks get tarnished.
21:09 June 23, 2012 by yuri_nahl
A very interesting aspect of this story is how the faithful uncritically lap up everything about the moral weight of a breaking condom. That is about equal to the video of US soldiers shooting up those Iraqi civilians from that helicopter which Assange showed the world! Hey are they hiring over there where y'all post from? I could do that too, and I'm sure my criticisms would be more interesting than the bogus rot you guys post. You know it's hard to get onto the moral high ground in light of the record of the NATO psychos. Let's see...broken rubber against... bombing of Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, etc, etc, etc. Very interesting aspect , my ass!
06:36 June 24, 2012 by Harry®
Seems more than strange his own country is being gutless and not giving him an assumption of innocence, Seems a to do so is being considered a "unfriendly act" by sycophantic countries to their US masters

- Australia's PM Gillard has falsely asserted that Assange had broken the law

- Australia's Attorney General threatening to cancel his passport

-Australia gave absolutely no remonstrations with Sweden telling them to stuff their confected non-charge where the sun doesn't shine

- Australia's given absolutely no remonstrations with the UK telling them to stuff their idiotic extradition for no charges laid on a non-crime

- Australia's made absolutely no remonstrations with the US telling them they will not get their hands on Assange

-With every single press conference by Australia's PM involves defensive posturing with false claims to having provided assistance to Assange. (none happened)

Link to Australian press article

http://tinyurl.com/7y48maq
08:45 June 24, 2012 by Nomark
Yuri_nahl

Your post makes absolutely no sense as a rebuttal to mine. Its just a rant.
11:30 June 24, 2012 by salalah
Ecuador will never give him asylum now, since he is a suspect. Before it was in the name of "Free Speech", now it would put a bad light on Ecuador and strip the country of important foreign aid...
13:31 June 24, 2012 by Nomark
@Harry

Any independent verification of your claims ? Newspapers aren't particularly known for their objective assessments.
14:59 June 24, 2012 by david anderson
The first point; Assange is not charged with any crime in Sweden.

A Swedish prosecutor was granted extradition only because he wants to talk to him? PLEASE, give that argument to the morons that will go for it.

If the prosecutor believes a crime was committed? Assange would have been charged. If the prosecutor wanted to talk to Assange he could have gotten on a flight to London and saved the Swedish taxpayer a lot of money. Or maybe he could have issued Assange a written guarantee that he would be returned to London at the conclusion of the case; No matter the outcome.

For all of you who read this; Ask yourself this question; Would you want to be extradited to another country with there being no charge and only because someone has made a claim against you?

David Anderson USA
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