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Julian Assange granted asylum by Ecuador

The Local/AFP · 16 Aug 2012, 13:53

Published: 16 Aug 2012 13:53 GMT+02:00

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After weeks inside embassy premises since his request for diplomatic protection at the end of June, the Australian national received word on Thursday that he will be granted asylum to the South American country.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, said at a press conference that Ecuador sees it as imperative to offer asylum to those seeking it due to political persecution.

"We believe Julian Assange's fears are legitimate - he could face political persecution," Patino said during the press conference.

Sweden however rejected the claim that Assange's human rights may be violated should he be extradited to Sweden.

"Our firm legal and constitutional system guarantees the rights of each and everyone. We firmly reject any accusations to the contrary," foreign minister Carl Bildt tweeted shortly after the press conference.

According to British national broadcaster BBC, the announcement was watched live by Assange and embassy staff in a link to the press conference from Quito.

Shortly after the announcement, Assange told the BBC that being granted asylum by Ecuador is a "significant victory"

The growing risk of a diplomatic furore loomed ever closer on Thursday with police staying close outside the South American country's embassy in London, where Assange is holed up, after Ecuador slammed Britain for threatening to storm the building to arrest him.

Ahead of the announcement just after 2pm CET on Thursday, around a dozen policemen, some wearing stab vests, were positioned outside the embassy in the exclusive Knightsbridge district of London near the Harrods department store.

The British Foreign Office remains adamant however that the country's obligation to extradite Assange to Sweden will be carried out.

Story continues below…

"Under our law, with Mr Assange having exhausted all options of appeal UK authorities are under binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden," the Foreign Office tweeted shortly after the announcement.

"We shall carry out that obligation. The Ecuadorian Government's decision this afternoon does not change that."

"We remain committed to a negotiated solution that allows us to carry out our obligations under the Extradition Act, " tweeted the Foreign Office.

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:53 August 16, 2012 by GLO
Criminal Assange will have his day , time is on side of justice. World Terrorist and rapist his family must be proud.
14:53 August 16, 2012 by Freespeech
Thank you Ecuador ! Thank you to all the Swedish Supporters!
15:05 August 16, 2012 by Texrusso
Thank you Ecuador!!! Thanks to all supporters!!! Let free reign!!!
15:07 August 16, 2012 by philster61
GLO. Learn to read..
15:19 August 16, 2012 by nolikegohome
Hail Ecuador! Congratulations Assange !
15:23 August 16, 2012 by otwa
GLO, do you live in moon or mars!?

I wonder how come Swedish government can used by US for the sake of US' politics, and swedes only watch this theater without reacting to their government.
15:26 August 16, 2012 by Cephalectomy
great, but how will they get him outside of the uk ?
15:26 August 16, 2012 by otwa
@7, dig a tunnel may be:)
15:29 August 16, 2012 by Texrusso
Thank you Ecuador!!! Thanks to all supporters!!! Let freedom reign!!! Why could Swedish prosecutors not just accept Ecuadors offer to fly in to London to question Assange if he was wanted just for questioning?? I smell a rat... The European Arrest warrant is the biggest threat to human rights. Hope this case will bring this to light for EU law makers to review this stupid law (European Arrest Warrant). Why not even invite Assange to come freely to Sweden for questioning. WHY MUST A PERSON BE ARRESTED BEFORE QUESTIONING?? Shame on the European Arrest Warrant system!!! COngratulations Assange!!! This is just the begining of a long drawn battle. May the forces be with you Assange and give you the courage and strenght in the battle. Long live freedom and Human right for all in Europe and across the World!!!
15:34 August 16, 2012 by Nomark
Errrm, well done Ecuador. Now all you have to do is make sure this isn't an empty anti-American gesture (at which South American leaders excel) and actually get him out of the embassy and into a position where he can also make empty anti-American gestures from the safety of sunny Quito.

Perhaps some of the armchair lawyers who were so successful in explaining to us why the UK legal system would be better for him than the Swedish system can amuse us by their "knowledge" of the details of the Vienna Convention, free passage of diplomatic goods etc. I'm sure they'll find a watertight legal escape route (the Umaru Dikko way perhaps albeit without the failure..).

It would be ironic if the only extraordinary rendition in this case was done by Assange himself...
15:41 August 16, 2012 by Freespeech
This is the PLAN.....Change of Government in Sweden and then a written guaranty from the Swedish Government that Julian Assange will not be extradited to America.... It's up to the supporters/Voters of Sweden to deliver real justice....Then Julian Assange will have no problem travelling to Sweden to answer the allegations in question...How about a thumbs up!
15:42 August 16, 2012 by Localer
Good news !!!
15:47 August 16, 2012 by smilingjack
ROCK ON!!!!!!!!!

now to get funding flowing back to wiki leaks to expose the true criminals and real terrorists in this world. ecuador hold your heads high. sweden and australia hangs yours in shame. a step in the right direction to bring a bit of balance back to the world.
15:47 August 16, 2012 by WelshSwede
Not bad considering earlier the Jokel was reporitng the police was entering the embassy to arrest him!
15:48 August 16, 2012 by Ranjit T Edward
GLO: What have you been smoking.

A strange state of affairs here. How on earth are they going to get him to Eq?

The UK is obliged to uphold a court order. Which means he steps out, he will be arrested by the British authorities. I am sure JA is smarter than that.

And then comes an old UK law, that allows them to remove diplomatic immunity on the EQ embassy. If that law is implemented, the British Authorities can walk in and take him aways. However, that is easier said, than done. Imagine if the UK did that, the backlash they will face in all their embassies around the globe. A very tricky situation here. In all this, Sweden sits back and watches, as the UK has got itself in a terrible twist, that it never had to, in the first place.
15:54 August 16, 2012 by StockholmSam
As to getting him out of the embassy and into Ecuador, are the staff cars for foreign embassies also considered sovereign property, like the embassies themselves? Once in an Ecuador Embassy car, can UK authorities stop him and remove him from the car after it leaves the embassy? I assume the car could take him to a waiting private plane that is also sovereign property. Any experts around here who can confirm or rebut this? I think it is fairly common in asylum situations like this that the asylum seeker is safely moved to the receiving country without problems.
16:01 August 16, 2012 by Ranjit T Edward
Stockholm Sam, you have an interesting point there. This is not a unique situation. The only difference is that usually the receiving country is the US. And they have a law for themselves. Lets see how this unfolds!
16:02 August 16, 2012 by Texrusso
@StockholmSam, the only problem with that is Ecuador Embassy in London do not have a Car park. They use a private car park which is outside the embassy and not a property of Ecuador. Only way is to use a Helicopter to lift Assange to Safety. Yes, Ecuador Embassy car ia also the sovereign property of Ecuador and get diplomatic pass... But the Parking space is the draw back.
16:13 August 16, 2012 by Nomark
StockholmSam and Ranjit

Can you please give examples in which the asylum seeker is moved out of a country without the consent of that country's authorities.

Regarding the hypothetical escape plan, I doubt the UK is obliged to allow the private plane to take off . They would probably stop it if it tried to do so (even if some of those inside had diplomatic immunity and the plane was sovereign). Then they would isolate it and not allow those sovereign cars you mentioned to come and pick Assange up. I imagine it would get quite smelly very quickly as well as creating a diplomatic stink if the law of the land was broken in the process, i.e. private plane trying to take off without due permission.
16:19 August 16, 2012 by Bluecrane
Scurvy fascists took a beating at the hands of Ecuador and Swedish puppets are denied the opportunity to hand Assange over for torture. Raoul Wallenberg would be so proud of these whores in Sweden. This American has always been rather proud of Swedish heritage. Not so proud at the moment.
16:29 August 16, 2012 by oldonpalouse
This is nonsense. He is a narcissistic and immature leader of people who have no sense of right and wrong. They revel in anti authority behavior, not caring about the deaths they cause.

It is only a matter of time, the US will get him and his followers.
16:40 August 16, 2012 by Freespeech
Yeah sure thing @oldonpalouse..Then we can all hold hands and sing Kumbayah ....Get real little mushroom...
16:43 August 16, 2012 by Nomark
I think they should dig a tunnel like on the old WW2 movies. If they go deep enough they'll get to Australia. Then he's home - problem solved. They could hide all of the removed earth by digging another tunnel.

Granted there are some holes in the above plan. But no more so than any of the other escape plans and conspiracy theories posted here.
16:48 August 16, 2012 by prince T
Assang's lovers pls hold on on the champaign. According to d UK Assang is still coming to Sweden to face his nemesis. Dont celebrate yet. I want to see how he will get out of UK.
17:00 August 16, 2012 by skogsbo
you Assange lovers are on another planet, you shout about free speech, as he willingly heads off to the embassy belonging to the least free nation on N/S or Central American continent. The one thing the people of Ecuador aren't under their current dictator is free. He is a childish hyprocrite.

But, thankfully, he'll be arrested before he even boards his flight. Other nations have tried this before, Nigeria tried to smuggle somebody out in a massive crate labelled 'diplotmatic baggage', however people smuggling, ie trafficking is illegal, he was intercepted and arrested at the airport. The moment Assange's feet hit the front step, he will be where he belongs, in handcuffs :) Ecuador knows this, they are just playing the game.
17:06 August 16, 2012 by Ranjit T Edward
Nomark, The case of Fang Lizhi in China who went into the US Embassy. Thestand off was I think nearly a year, and finally the Chinese authorities allowed him to board a US Air force plane to the US, of course after lots of negotiations and deals between the Chinese and the US.

In this case, I cannot see the UK making deals with Eq. Having said that, i feel some pressure might be put on Sweden in the process to unwind things that have been set in motion. For a start, the situation can be defused if Sweden is pressured to question him in the UK...I am only speculating here...
17:31 August 16, 2012 by OUIJA
GLO, skogsboo and olsonpalouse:

It's really scary to think that people like you graduated from kindergarten.

Acapulco Golden has really damaged your tiny brains. Take care.

Hurrah for Ecuador! It has showed the British pirates that the country is not their colony and that Ecuador is simply not an a..licker from Barack Obama.

Sweden should be ashamed. It started all ghe fuzz by giving credit to two lesbian whores and to one very stupid police force backed up by a more stupid Attorney at Law.

I wonder what would happen if Assange is granted an Ecuatorian citizenship. Will the stupid "bobbies" still hunt him.

And it does not matter if the UK has a law of 1917 that says that they can delete de diplomatic status of any embassy if necessary.

Deep in my heart, I hope they do it so they can have the majority of the FREE WORLD against the UK.

But you know: when the head is at the lower end,like Sweden and his nationals have proven to have, anything can happen. Just ask the stupid Swedes who generated the problem by requesting the extradition of someone (Assange) who has not even convicted for anything.

And how can the Swedes support someone that has fought for Freedom of Speech, when this universal right does not exist in Sweden? If you doubt it, you can ask Vladimir Putin who, on April 26 of 2011, at a press conference with Reinfeldt in Stockholm, Reinfeldt's press secretary, Roberta Alenius, tried over and over and over, to deny Putin's right to answer a question that he had requested. Finally, the hated (by the Swedish government, but of course)Vladimir Putin gave up and said: "As you can see, they complain about democracy in Russia. This is democracy...a dictatorship" Reinfeldt blushed and Alenius just made some water on the floor.

!Viva Ecuador! jijos de su rechi.
17:54 August 16, 2012 by Mr.O
Sweden NEVER extradites anyone if there is a risk of death penalty. It is the law. So Mr Assange would be very safe in Sweden. In the first place, Mr Assange went to Sweden to continue his work partly because of this.

He was welcomed by Sweden and the Swedish people, when he arrived. He stayed and liked it in Sweden until he committed the acts that resulted in suspicion and accusation of rape and sexual harassments. Instead of helping the investigation he suddenly fled to the UK and started this circus.

Maybe Mr Assange thinks it is easier to escape from the british police, the UK, Sweden and the EU, than to prove being innocent of rape...
17:55 August 16, 2012 by Texrusso

Assange embassy gamble follows famous precedents
18:43 August 16, 2012 by Mr.O
Shame on you Mr Assange! Only a coward lies, hides and runs away. I thought you were a brave man.

Now its time you respect the European laws and people and face the rape accusations like a man.
19:05 August 16, 2012 by Texrusso
@Mr. D, If Sweden will arrest every Swedish citizen for questioning, you can calculate how much tax payers revenues that will be and that will mean 70% of Swedish population waiting in pre-trial detention to answer cases. This translates to lower work force and huge resources to prison facilities from Swedish tax payers revenue. Now, Why didn't Sweden just invite him for questioning if it were for mere questioning? Why did the Swedish refuse to question him in London? Why did Sweden refuse to guarantee that he will not be extradited to the United States. I think you have not been well informed about this case. Please watch this video: http://rt.com/news/ecuador-grants-assange-asylum-842/
19:07 August 16, 2012 by eddie123
when the going gets tough, the tough gets going... let's wait and see what happens. if my memory holds right, JA was in Sweden for a while and only left Sweden because the Police said he could. why wasn't he questioned immediately? why must it take 90 days for the police to do their job?
19:17 August 16, 2012 by Texrusso
@Mr.D. Why must a person be arrest for what prosecutors termed as mere questioning. For those who are not aware about the process involved in a European Arrest Warrant. This would mean, Assange will be held in detention/custody for several weeks in the UK pending when paper works are completed. And after that will be hadcurfed and deported with security personels from Sweden to Stockholm were he will be kept in pre-trial detention for 6months to one year pending the end of the trial in Sweden. Assange will also be held incommunicado in Swedish Jail without any access to the outside World and this would mean he will not be able to prepare for his case and would not get a fair trial. There are also many complexities of the Swedish Judicial system which you don't understand, but I will not elaborate on that now. If you were Assange considering and knowing the fact that this a political mumbojumbo, what will you do? Assange I believe have done the right thing after exhausting every legal means possible. This case is a victory against the flaws of the European Arrest Warrant which gives member states the right to extradite a person to a 2nd EU member state without any evidence against every hum right possible!!
21:01 August 16, 2012 by Nomark

You wrote "There are also many complexities of the Swedish Judicial system

which you don't understand, but I will not elaborate on that now."

Errrm, what makes you an expert ? And I don't mean reading pro-Assange websites. Maybe a bit of humility might serve you well.
00:17 August 17, 2012 by BillTuckerUS
Bildt says, "Our firm legal and constitutional system guarantees the rights of each and everyone. We firmly reject any accusations to the contrary."

Somehow, Sweden forgot about its "firm and legal constitutional system" when it came the two Egyptians who were deported under Sweden's Extraordinary Rendition Agreement with the US.

The fate the these two men is a major factor in Assange's desire to avoid extradition to Sweden. Since Bildt's "guarantees" didn't apply to the two Egyptians, why should anyone believe that they would apply to Mr Assange?
06:54 August 17, 2012 by entry
Read the transcripts regarding the brutal rape and sodomy of a 13 year old child by Roman Polanski. (start here http://bit.ly/PpxF0W I do not wish to re-read or look further) Now waste your breath and try to convince me that rich leftist pigs do not live under a separate set of laws than you and I.
10:31 August 17, 2012 by Lemon1987

Maybe you should check your brain first and not act like hot-head .You cant compare that twisted f*ck Polanski with JA. Those were two different cases what had happened.First one was a clear 13 year old victim with true testimony. Second was about 2 cagey dykes with no clear allegations each day changing their answers to gain some credit ( bowin down for US agency maybe??).
12:47 August 17, 2012 by Hisingen
The barrack room lawyers are out in force, defending a limp d**k like assange. All are raising cases of varying seriousness from other countries, whilst slating anyone else's points of view. Why not save your energy - assange is not worth it. He is simply a total waste of space with an over-sized ego making demands. He will surely enjoy life in Ecuador - free as it is - if he ever gets there.
13:50 August 17, 2012 by entry
@Lemon1987 "Second was about 2 cagey dykes with no clear allegations each day changing their answers to gain some credit ( bowin down for US agency maybe??)."

It does not matter if the alleged sexual assaults by the extreme leftist Juilian Assange may have been committed against "2 cagey dykes", a person of Asian, African, South American ancestry or even if the victim was of 'English' ancestry, the laws are to be applied equally. Being a LEFTIST radical does not exclude you and your ilk from the same laws that the rest of us agree with and follow. The sexual preference, race, national origin, religion of your victims do not matter in our application of justice in Sweden or the European Union! -Paul
05:12 August 18, 2012 by ThePoliticallyIncorrect
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
08:08 August 18, 2012 by Smartone
@ 42#. Sweden a female dominated society.

I agree, it's better to be an elk than a man. LOL
09:26 August 18, 2012 by FatherJon
It's pretty obvious that Assange is being set up for a swift extradition to the US via Sweden, using trumped-up and utterly ridiculous 'rape' charges. Swedish women in my day were always up for some slap-and-tickle, where did it all go wrong?

Why don't we ever see/hear these women being interviewed? I'm sure they're sick of being used by the Swedish puritans and Americans, and would rather the whole issie goes away. In which case it would all disappear. Take the plaintiffs out of the equation, and Julian can return home to Australia. Easy as..........but that's clearly not going to be allowed. There are bigger fish to fry.

Where are these women? Are they locked up in a dungeon somewhere in Stockholm to stop them changing their story?
13:49 August 18, 2012 by Robert Mulder
Reading the Swedish reactions most Swedes are apparently supporting the ridiculous "Sex law" they project on Assange. Just read again what they mean with 'rape'. For me it fits into the neurotic Swedish attitude to protect themselves for everything possible. Remember the Italian politician on vacation who had an argument with his 12 year old son and gesticulated a little too much in the neighborhood of his sons ear. Two Swedes called the police and the man was imprisoned for maltreating his child. Last week in Sweden I opened my car door and almost touched the door of a lady who started investigating her door and asked for my insurance papers. The practically invisible scratch she was talking about was about ten centimeters from the place where I could have touched her door. It's no fun living in a place where every movement is controlled by the state and its inhabitants.
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