Assange ‘will not comply’ with UK police orders

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Assange ‘will not comply’ with UK police orders

Julian Assange will stay in Ecuador's embassy in London, having decided not to comply with a British police order to turn himself in for extradition to Sweden, a spokeswoman for the WikiLeaks founder said Friday.


"Julian will remain in the embassy under the protection of the Ecuadorian government," spokeswoman Susan Benn told reporters outside the embassy.

Scotland Yard on Thursday served a "surrender notice" on the 40-year-old Australian requiring him to attend a police station at a date and time of their choosing.

British media reports indicated he had been ordered to present himself at a central London police station at 11:30am on Friday.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that Assange had not yet gone to a police station, but refused to confirm the date or time he had been told to present himself.

Asked if he would leave the Ecuadoran embassy, Assange told BBC television in a telephone interview late Thursday: "Our advice is that asylum law both internationally and domestically takes precedence over extradition law so almost certainly not."

The embassy confirmed to AFP on Friday that Assange remained inside the property -- a flat in a mansion block in the plush Knightsbridge district of central London, across the street from the famous Harrods emporium.

In a statement Thursday on the embassy's website, the diplomatic mission also confirmed that Scotland Yard officers had delivered a letter to Assange through them.

Separately, the South America department of the Foreign and Commonwealth

Office has written to the Ecuadoran embassy reaffirming its commitment to "promoting excellent bilateral relations between the Republic of Ecuador and the United Kingdom government," the statement added.

"The government of Ecuador will continue to foster good relations with the UK government whilst assessing Mr Assange's application for asylum."

He faces allegations in Sweden of sexual assault and rape against two former female volunteers at his WikiLeaks website and was arrested on an extradition warrant in December 2010.

He was bailed and embarked on a marathon round of court battles, but finally exhausted all his options under British law earlier this month when the Supreme Court overturned his appeal against extradition.

Assange says he fears that from Sweden he will be extradited to the United States to face possible espionage charges, after releasing more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables on the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website.

He sought refuge at Ecuador's embassy in London on June 19, asking the South American country for political asylum.

He has therefore breached his bail conditions -- which state he must be at a given address between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am -- and is liable for arrest.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said officers on Thursday "served a surrender notice upon a 40-year-old man that requires him to attend a police station at date and time of our choosing.

"This is standard practice in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process.

"He remains in breach of his bail conditions. Failing to surrender would be a further breach of conditions and he is liable to arrest."

But while he remains in the embassy, he is beyond the reach of British authorities.

Following the end of his legal challenges, he was given until June 28 to make a final appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, at which point extradition procedures in Britain could commence.


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