In defiance to request from British authorities, Ecuador has granted asylum to the founder of Wikileaks - Julian Assange.

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Julian Assange is one of the most sought-after man, both in British and Sweden right now. Attempts were being made to somehow have him extradited to Sweden where he would have to stand trial over allegations of rape. But these plans were sabotaged by Ecuador, now that the South American country has granted asylum to Mr. Assange.


Julian Assange

Mr. Assange has been at the Ecuadorean Embassay in London for the past two months. During these two months, a number of meetings and discussions between Ecuadorean and British officials took place in which UK tried to negotiate a way of recovering Mr. Assange and have him extradited to Sweden.

However, Ecuador has now officially announced that it is granting asylum to Mr. Assange, because there is an imminent risk that he will face ‘political persecution’ if he is handed over. He may eventually be handed over to the U.S. where he can be tried for death penalty. Naturally, these reservations seem well-placed since U.S. authorities have desperately tried to shut down Wikileaks and shut up Assange.

The announcement of granting asylum was made by Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patino. He said, ““The government of Ecuador, faithful to its tradition of protecting those who seek refuge in its territory or in its diplomatic missions, has decided to grant diplomatic asylum to Julian Assange. There are indications to presume that there could be political persecution.”

During the course of negotiations, Ecuador tried to get guarantees that Mr. Assange, if extradited, would not be handed over to U.S. authorities. But neither UK nor Swedish or U.S. officials had provided any such guarantees. Naturally, this meant that Assange could have face threats to his life if he is handed over.

There are those who are stating that Ecuador has made a rather unwise move by granting asylum to Mr. Assange. And that such a move can jeopardize Ecuador’s trade with European nations. Also, a few on the social media claimed that the move was taken by Ecuadorean government also to play to the choir and gain sympathies in the arena of domestic politics.

Nonetheless, the conundrum still remains because Assange can’t leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London. The moment he leaves its premises, he will be arrested by UK authorities.

Source: NYT

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  On August 17, 2012(1 year, 11 months ago.)

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