Ecuador ratified Friday its diplomatic asylum status for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living in the country s London embassy since June 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault charges. The move makes official Assange s protected status and means he can remain under the country s protection indefinitely.
There's nothing new about asylum seekers dominating Australian media; those attempting to reach Australian shores by boat regularly make headlines. But on Monday it was an asylum seeker who already has an Australian passport who led the news: Julian Assange. Giving an interview to the pressure-group GetUp!, from his bolt-hole in Ecuador's London embassy - in which he's stuck - Assange tried to pull at the heart-strings. "I can't go and visit my family. I can't do things that are important to many people. I can't view the skyline. I can't visit my homeland."
The UK's threat to invade the Ecuador embassy also made it clear that this case was not about questioning Julian Assange regarding a possible criminal case in Sweden. Few could believe that the UK government would have resorted to such extreme and illegal measures if this were just a matter of extraditing a foreign citizen to a foreign country where he is not even charged with a crime.
Rafael Correa, Ecuador s president, has said he expects to respond to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's application for political asylum some time this week. "We expect to have a meeting on Wednesday [with Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino] and I hope to make an announcement before the end of the week," the leftist leader said in an interview with public broadcaster ECTV late on Monday.
Ecuador s president, Rafael Correa, appears to be leaning toward granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Due to be extradited from the UK to Sweden for questioning over alleged sexual offenses, last month Assange breached his bail conditions to seek refuge in Ecuador s London embassy. Since then he has refused to leave and has requested asylum and even Ecuadorean citizenship from Correa s left-wing administration, which, like Assange, has an antagonistic relationship with Washington.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has refused to present himself at a UK police station to start the process of extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault charges. Assange has been hiding at the Ecuadorean embassy in London since last week, when he made a surprise application for political asylum there. He had been ordered to present himself at a police station on Friday morning