Julian Assange Asylum by Equador: monumental political crisis in the offing
By citing the threat to his human rights, Ecuador granted political asylum to Julian Assange, much to the dismay of Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Britain. The announcement came amidst a war of words between the two countries over the issue – at official level.
Earlier on the day, Ecuador accused Britain of using ‘explicit type of blackmail’ over a note given by the British Foreign Office that the Police were prepared to storm in their London mission in the event of political asylum being granted to Mr Assange.
Once the announcement made with respect to granting him asylum, the British Foreign Office said that they were disappointed.
The official communique went on to say, "Under our law, with Mr Assange having exhausted all options of appeal, the British authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden.”
Meanwhile, Ricardo Patino, the Ecuadorian foreign minister, insisted, “We trust that our friendship with the United Kingdom will remain intact."
The main challenge for Mr Assange is how to get out of the perimeter wall of embassy; as soon as he steps out, he risks being arrested. The obvious presence of the police outside the embassy would be a clear deterrent, if Mr Assange explore the possibility of coming out of embassy, then getting on to a diplomatic car and heading towards a London airport.
On the other hand, if Britain wants to physically take him out of the embassy, it has to revoke the diplomatic status of the mission – and then, of course, trigger off a chain of unpredictable events.
Mr Assange is accused of raping two of his female acquaintances in Sweden: he denied the charge and says it was consensual; the women disagree and want Swedish courts to decide it.
With the latest developments, the diplomatic impasse that has been slowly evolving around the Ecuadorian embassy, suddenly raised stakes against Ecuador, Britain and of course, Mr Assange himself.
Since Sweden wants him extradited to face charges and Britain is under obligation to fulfil its share of responsibility in this regard, Mr Assange’s troubles seem to be far from over. He is now at the centre of a major political storm – involving not just two countries, but a big block of Latin American countries and Britain.
- Asian Tribune -