Assange granted asylum by Ecuador
Fri, 17 Aug 2012 12:11a.m.
By 3 News online staff
The government of Ecuador has agreed to grant asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Ecuador's Foreign Affairs Minister Ricardo Patino made the announcement in a speech in the Ecuadorian capital Quito, saying that extreme and careful consideration was given to Assange's application.
Mr Patino says Assange has been fighting for freedom of speech, and that this has put him in danger.
Assange came to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in July, asking for asylum on the basis of fears that he will eventually be delivered to US authorities after first being extradited to Sweden.
Mr Patino says if Assange was to be tried for crimes in the US, he would not be given a fair trial, and that the Ecuadorian government has failed to get a guarantee from Swedish authorities that Assange would not be passed on elsewhere.
The foreign minister went on to also reject the “threat” made against Ecuador by the British government yesterday, when Britain warned Ecuador that it could legally arrest Assange even if he remains on the grounds of the Ecuadorian embassy – recognised as Ecuadorian soil.
Mr Patino affirmed Ecuador’s status as a sovereign nation, and defended its right to deal with Assange’s request for asylum without external pressure. He made reference to the United Nations and the Vienna Convention, which he says both prohibit the violation of diplomatic space.
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