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Police enter Ecuadorean embassy building

The Local/AFP · 16 Aug 2012, 10:53

Published: 16 Aug 2012 10:53 GMT+02:00

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The purpose of officers entering the premises housing the embassy is still not known.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Wednesday that it would be "unacceptable" for British police to enter the embassy itself, but noted that his country "has made a decision" on Assange and will announce it Thursday at 7am (2pm CET).

Patino said that Ecuador had received "an express threat in writing" from Britain "that they could storm our embassy if Ecuador does not hand over Julian Assange."

"Ecuador rejects in the strongest terms the explicit threat made in Britain's official communication," Patino told reporters.

"The position taken by the government of Great Britain is unacceptable, both from the political and the legal point of view," he said, warning that entering the embassy without authorization "would be a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention" on diplomatic relations.

Assange took refuge at the embassy on June 19 to avoid extradition to Sweden, which he claims plans to eventually surrender him to US authorities.

"The UK has a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sexual offenses and we remain determined to fulfill this obligation," a British Foreign Office spokesman said.

But even if the asylum request is granted, it is unclear whether Assange will be allowed to leave, as British police were waiting outside the embassy ready to arrest him for breaching the terms of his bail granted in 2010.

"Throughout this process we have drawn the Ecuadoreans' attention to relevant provisions of our law, whether, for example, the extensive human rights safeguards in our extradition procedures, or to the legal status of diplomatic premises in the UK," a Foreign Office spokesman said to national British broadcaster BBC.

"We are still committed to reaching a mutually acceptable solution."

According to the broadcaster, the law in question is the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act of 1987.

This law allows the UK to revoke any diplomatic status of an embassy on UK soil, which allowing police to enter the building.

By using this privilege, they would therefore be able to arrest Mr Assange for breaching the terms of his bail.

Ecuador had said it was reviewing the sexual misconduct allegations as it weighed his asylum request. Assange maintains he had consensual sex with the alleged Swedish victims.

A few activists camped out overnight outside the embassy.

Story continues below…

The protest's Facebook page claimed another 600 more demonstrators were expected later at the embassy and have threatened to "occupy" it.

"This situation is contradictory in a country which heralds free speech," an 18-year-old protester who gave her name as Ella told AFP.

"What he (Assange) did is beautiful and important. We need to show solidarity."

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:23 August 16, 2012 by rob582
Get in there, drag him out and stick him on a RyanAir flight to Skavsta!
11:39 August 16, 2012 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
Reported by whom? None of the reputable UK news sources have reported anything. In fact they say the government is still deciding how to proceed.
11:45 August 16, 2012 by byke
I wonder if there is anything else in the UK news that is being overshadowed by this latest turn of events? It would seem the UK has entered into the "bush" era of justification.
12:18 August 16, 2012 by skogsbo
byke, perhaps they are buring the bad news that A level results have declined, which is great. Perhaps and increase in standards is looming and my b & c's will be worth something agian! Uk retail sales rose in July? The king of one liners is in hospital? Or perhaps Andy Coulson is in court today or hacking charge, which is good news, not bad, so why hide it?

I think the Police and Department of Justice/CPS just got fed up with the spoilt brat and apart from resorting to old school seige tactics, like turning off the electricity, poisoning the water and throwing a rotten carcase through the front door what else can they do?
12:40 August 16, 2012 by Abe L
Equador could have avoided all this by having made the decision a lot sooner. Wether that decision is to grand JA asylum or not, this would have been avoided.

Anyway, his mom already hit the nail on the head: "What the US wants, the US gets from its allies, regardless of if it's legal or if it's ethical or in breach of human or legal rights".
13:02 August 16, 2012 by philster61
Rob must be one of those right wing conservative Americans who supports the GOP no matter how stupid they are...
13:08 August 16, 2012 by Mib
As someone has mentioned already, there are no reports from any UK media that this has happened.....only that they have threatened to via an law that they brought in 1987, which conflicts with International law.

It seems democarcy only works when t suits the Government (pressured by the US). Where is Hugh Grant when you need him?:)

Wikileaks, terrorism etc have exposed the real truth about these so called democracies. We can say what we want, when we want and do what we want as long as it doesn't obviously break the law, but also does not inconvenience the Government. We're living in a Nazi state where the threat of terrorism etc is being used to spy on everything we do and say. The pevious Communist Governments would have been proud of the ools theGovernment uses today.
13:39 August 16, 2012 by bcterry
"Wikileaks, terrorism etc have exposed the real truth about these so called democracies."

The "real truth about these so called democracies", is that Wikileaks and Assage would never have been allowed to even get off the ground without them.

And the fact that you are giving kudos to terrorism for anything, pretty much says everything about where you are coming from.

Nazi state???, ........... fxxking hilarious!
13:40 August 16, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
I reckon thelocal.se repeated the same story from:- http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/222646/uk-police-descend-on-assanges-embassy-refuge/?cs=5

about 20 minutes after the 'border mail' first reported the newe item
14:20 August 16, 2012 by Rick Methven
The Police HAVE NOT entered the Embassy, The building has other non-diplomatic occupants so they can legally go into the lobby area. Just watched BBC NEWS at 0ne
15:43 August 16, 2012 by Nomark

The law was brought in after someone in the Libyan Embassy killed a policewoman after firing some shots through a window in the embassy. The UK government had limited means to deal with the situation under the laws of the time.

Whether it conflicts with international conventions remains to be tested in court. Try not to be an armchair lawyer. Very little in law is clear cut.
17:38 August 16, 2012 by Mib

Has Assange or anyone else shot people from the Embassy? No...Now I can understand a law to deal with incidents like the Libyan Embassy, but other than in those extreme cases, they have no right to enter that Embbassy forcibly. What would have the US done had China forcbly entered the US embassy to arrest the blind Chinese man who had been mistreated by the chinese authorities? You would have heard them screaming from the top of their voices and making threats of retaliation. They even allowed him free passage to travel to the US.

Assange has NOT been charged with any crime...He has broken the terms of his bail and is subject to arrest. But, I believe he has done the right thing as he isin real danger of being extrdted to the US and like Bradley Manning held in custody without trial for an indeterminate amount of time.

Why haven't the Swedish police visited London to interview Assange when they have done so in other situations? Why spend all that money on lawyers to extradite him when no charges have been brought? Why did the Swedish authorities announce him as the accused when naming the accused in public is illegal. Whey announce that the accusations had been dropped for them to be raised again by a Sweidsh politician a few weeks later? Whay aren't the Australian Government helping Assange? Why are American politicians allowed to encourage the murder of Assange publicly without sanction? The answer is bleeding obvious.....just like Iraq and more...the truth is being hidden very badly and treating all of us as idiots!
18:05 August 16, 2012 by OUIJA
What Lola wants, Lola gets. As Bildt. He is a master in bending his back if requested by Obama and his Clinton
21:22 August 20, 2012 by Nomark

You miss the point entirely. Where did I imply he shot someone from the Embassy ?

What is it with your obsession with him not being charged ? Look up the EU arrest warrant.

Why should the Swedish police travel to London when they can get an EU arrest warrant ? Why should the judicial process follow the schedule and wishes of the accused ?
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