Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

  • Air Algerie ‘lost contact’ with flight leaving Burkina Faso

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Netherlands holds day of mourning for victims of flight MH17

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • Ryanair ordered to pay back €9.6m in illegal state aid to France

    Read more

Europe

WikiLeaks' Assange seeks asylum in Ecuador

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-06-20

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sought political asylum at Ecuador’s London embassy, the country’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said on Tuesday. Assange is awaiting extradition to Sweden, where he has been accused of sexual assault and rape.

Reuters - WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange is seeking asylum in Ecuador after arriving at the South American nation’s embassy in London, Ecuador’s foreign minister said on Tuesday, a move that may help the self-styled anti-secrecy crusader avoid extradition to Sweden.

The 40-year-old Australian hacker famous for leaking hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables has been fighting to avoid being sent to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over sex crimes.

The situation threatens to inflame tensions between the government of Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s leftist and ardently anti-Washington president, and U.S. authorities who accuse Assange of damaging its foreign relations and blowing the cover of diplomatic sources.

“Ecuador is studying and analyzing the request,” Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told reporters in Quito. He added that any decision would be made with “respect for norms and principles of international law.”

The Andean nation in 2010 invited Assange to seek residency there but quickly backed off the idea, accusing him of breaking U.S. laws.

Since his detention, Assange has mostly been living under strict bail conditions at the country mansion of a wealthy supporter in eastern England. His associates say that amounts to 540 days under house arrest without charge.

It was not clear how he had arrived at the Ecuadorean embassy in the affluent Knightsbridge area of London.

“While the department assesses Mr. Assange’s application, Mr. Assange will remain at the embassy, under the protection of the Ecuadorian Government,” the embassy said on its website.

“The decision to consider Mr. Assange’s application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the Government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden.”

Death penalty?

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said it had no information other than what had appeared in the media.

According to Patino, Assange fears extradition “to a country where espionage and treason are punished with the death penalty.” He appeared to be referring to the United States, because Sweden does not have the death penalty.

In 2010, WikiLeaks began releasing secret video footage and thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables, many of them about Iraq and Afghanistan, in the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history.

Britain’s Supreme Court last week said he could be extradited to Sweden in two weeks’ time, rejecting his argument that a European arrest warrant issued by Swedish prosecutors for his extradition was invalid.

His only legal recourse in Britain is a possible appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Assange, who has not been charged with any offense in Sweden and denies any wrongdoing, has argued that the case is politically motivated because the release of documents on his website has angered the United States.

Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange over allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two female former WikiLeaks volunteers.

 

Date created : 2012-06-19

  • UK

    UK court rejects Assange bid to reopen extradition appeal

    Read more

  • UK

    UK Supreme Court upholds Assange extradition

    Read more

  • WIKILEAKS

    Assange to appeal extradition at UK court

    Read more

COMMENT(S)