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'Britain acted like an empire': Ecuador envoy

AFP/The Local · 22 Oct 2012, 07:39

Published: 22 Oct 2012 07:39 GMT+02:00

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Ana Alban told BBC radio that the threat, made in August just before Ecuador granted asylum to Australian-born Assange, was "the biggest mistake" committed by Britain since she became ambassador.

"They were trying to show this little country that the British are still an empire and we should learn to be good boys during our stay here," said Alban.

Former computer hacker Assange, 41, walked into the London embassy on June 19 claiming asylum in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over alleged rape and sexual assault.

British officials angered Ecuador in August by suggesting in a letter that they could ultimately withdraw diplomatic status from the embassy and enter it to arrest Assange, though they have not done so.

Ecuador granted Assange asylum on August 16 but Britain refuses to grant him safe passage out of the country, and he remains holed up in the embassy with the two countries in a diplomatic stalemate.

Assange denies the alleged sex crimes and claims he could eventually be passed from Sweden to the United States for prosecution over the WikiLeaks website's publication of hundreds of thousands of classified US documents.

WikiLeaks enraged Washington in 2010 by publishing a flood of secret military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a huge cache of diplomatic cables from US embassies across the world.

Embassy officials told the BBC that the presence of British police -- who have remained outside the embassy since June 19, poised to arrest Assange if he tries to escape -- was "intimidating".

Story continues below…

Alban even found one policeman right outside her toilet window and had to use a different one, she laughingly told the BBC.

The ambassador said she was taken completely by surprise by Assange's asylum request, and her immediate worries had been over practical issues such as where to find bed linen for the WikiLeaks founder.

The embassy still does not have a washing machine to handle their guest's laundry, she added.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:12 October 22, 2012 by shahislam
Newer US foreign policy making from 2013 must be influenced by following example in the light of no secret, indestructible electronic evidences preserved by the advanced digital technology of the time.

Oct 22, 2012

How easily Al-qaeda operations such as past 1st & 2nd 9/11 events are possible to be arranged remotely by faceless 3rd-party with special political and monetary interests.

These kind of expensive but real bombing incidents got to be always pre-planned and implemented by one or a few hereditarily super wealthy groups by using very common, worthless egos of some belief-blind morons -especially of any kind of religious minders in any culture or ordinary social groups at any piece of lands on earth. You may like to read for better understanding, 3 novels in Bengali language while visiting ww.shahislam.com.

20 OCCT 2012

There is sentimentality of millions of post suiside paradise goers in Bangladesh, who are brain-washed like Semitic Palestinians by wrong crusadian or jihadi-type teachings of religions.of
10:45 October 22, 2012 by RobinHood
Even hinting at breaching the sanctity of ambassadorial diplomatic privilege was extremely reckless, and for a major diplomatic power like Britain, completely unprecedented. This sort of thing goes on in places like Iran and Libya, but Britain!

A question that remains to be answered is why the British foreign office would put its own diplomats at such risk by writing such a silly thing to Ecuador? What could possibly have influenced into being so reckless?
11:28 October 22, 2012 by e1zorro
I don't give a toss about the Wikileaks/US extradition angle, or care about any politcal posturing/bluffing on the part of the British Government ( if the context of the memo is to be taken at face value )

However, if Assange is accused of rape then he needs to stand trial for it one way or another.

a) Give him assurance that he won't face US extradition on returning to Sweden

b) Give him a trial _somewhere_ at least.
12:03 October 22, 2012 by swekiwi
@e1zorro, the common mis-reading is that Assange is accused or even charged with a crime, he is not. He is wanted for questioning, for which extradition is not required, there are mechinisms whereby he can be questioned in the UK, however Sweden has rejected these, that is one the main reasons Assange is doubtful and one could argue suspicious of the real reasons why Sweden wants to extradite. Understand that these mechanisms are used all the time by governments making this case extremely unusual.

The truth is Sweden made a complete dogs breakfast of the Assange case leaving the Swedish polis and crown prosecutor with egg on their faces, and now, as per usual, the lack the courage to admit they made a mistake. Simply another example of Swedens inept judicial system gone mad, this is just the case that gets a lot of media attention, but there are plenty more that do not. Sweden should be ashamed, surely its judicial system has been ridiculed and exposed, not only internationally but by dozens of lawyers, former judges and at least one state prosecutor right here in Sweden.
12:38 October 22, 2012 by robban70226
And the News story is???
18:30 October 22, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
No matter how Ecuador wants distort the facts, Assange is accused of a non-political crime. It is under this situation where asylum should not be granted. There is no doubt that the UK suggesting to revoke the privileges was a diplomatic blunder. However, Ecuador should stop interfering in the fair legal process in another country.
22:06 October 22, 2012 by wabasha
I wonder what's worse.. living your life in Ecuador or a year in swedish jail? I'd have to toss a coin on that one
23:24 October 22, 2012 by bcterry
Comment: My god, the man does not have access to a washing machine!!!

Can you imagine?
23:59 October 22, 2012 by prince T
@swekiwi. assange was ordered by highest court in UK to be extradicted to sweden. The real issue is not sweden, it is ecuador that arrogantly violated a court order by granting asylum to someone wanted for questioning in another country. SWeden and assange has argued thier cases in UK COURT and sweden won. why would ecuador disregard that.

however, i will not want to engage in any distorttion of facts talk with assange lovers. hypocritical ecuador is all tongue but no action. let us see how they will get assange to ecuador.
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