SHARE
COPY LINK

ECUADOR

Ecuador moots Assange interview in London

Ecuador has asked Sweden to take WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's testimony regarding accusations of rape and sexual harassment, in London, the South American nation's top diplomat announced Monday.

Ecuador moots Assange interview in London

“Our ambassador in Sweden has begun steps to ask the Swedish government to

collect the statement of Mr. Assange where he is located, at the Ecuadoran

embassy in London,” said Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino.

Assange, 41, is seeking asylum in Ecuador to avoid his extradition to Sweden, where he is accused of sexual assault.

The WikiLeaks founder fears that from Sweden, he could subsequently be re-extradited to the United States to stand trial for espionage, on account of the trove of leaked US diplomatic cables and military logs that were published on his website.

“This is the request we have made in an effort to protect Mr. Assange’s life at all costs,” Patino added, joined at a press conference by Assange’s mother, Christine.

Christine Assange met with Patino Monday.

“I am sure the president and his aides will make the best decision in this case,” she told government website El Ciudadano.

Ecuador will respond to Assange’s request on August 12th, Patino said, after the 2012 London Olympics.

“We will take decisions that do not affect our relations with Britain,” Patino said, explaining that Quito would be careful not to do anything that could interfere in any way with the Olympic Games.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

JULIAN ASSANGE

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer

Julian Assange would cooperate with Swedish authorities if they reopen a rape case against him but will continue to resist any bid to extradite him to the United States, his lawyer said Sunday.

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer
Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson in London on Thursday. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham/TT

“We are absolutely happy to answer those queries if and when they come up,” Jennifer Robinson told Sky News television about the rape claims.

“The key issue at the moment is US extradition, which we have warned about for many years,” she added.

The WikiLeaks founder is in custody in London awaiting sentencing for breaching his British bail conditions in 2012 by seeking refuge in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.

He was arrested at the embassy on Thursday after Ecuador gave him up, and is now also fighting a US extradition warrant relating to the release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of official documents.

The Australian has always denied the claims of sexual assault and rape in Sweden. The first expired in 2015 and the other was dropped in 2017, but the alleged rape victim has now asked for the case to be reopened.

If Stockholm makes a formal extradition request, the British government will have to decide whether to consider it before or after that of the United States.

Robinson said Assange would seek assurances from Sweden that he would not be sent on to America, saying: “That is the same assurance we were seeking in 2010 and the refusal to give that is why he sought asylum.”

She added: “He's not above the law. Julian has never been concerned about facing British justice or indeed Swedish justice. This case is and has always been about his concern about being sent to face American injustice.”

The US indictment charges Assange with “conspiracy” for working with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password stored on Department of Defence computers in March 2010.

He faces up to five years in jail.

Manning passed hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, exposing US military wrongdoing in the Iraq war and diplomatic secrets about scores of countries around the world.

The conspiracy charge against Assange seems intended to sidestep limits on prosecution potentially arising from the US Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of press freedom.

But Robinson insisted: “This indictment clearly engages newsgathering activities and the kinds of communications that journalists have with sources all the time.”

The lawyer condemned as “outrageous” claims made by Ecuador about Assange's behaviour in the embassy, including that he smeared his faeces on the wall, saying: “That's not true.”

Quito also accused him of failing to care for his cat. WikiLeaks said Assange had asked his lawyers to “rescue him (the cat) from embassy threats” in October, adding: “They will be reunited in freedom.”

Assange's father, John Shipton, on Sunday urged Australia to bring his son home.

READ ALSO: 

SHOW COMMENTS