Julian Assange seeks political asylum in Ecuador

Written on:June 20, 2023
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Ecuador considers Assange's plea for shelter

Julian Assange, the founder of the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, who due to be deported to Sweden in nine days where he is accused of the sex attacks by two former volunteers, has sought political asylum in Ecuador under the United Nations Human Rights Declaration.

The 40-year-old Australian had lost a long-running legal bid earlier this month to stop his extradition to Sweden. Assange, who is currently under protection in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, accused his government of “effectively abandoning” him and “ignoring the obligation to protect its citizen, who is persecuted politically.” Ecuador has been providing shelter to Assange since November 2010.

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has confirmed that officials were seriously considering Assange’s request after he wrote to President Rafael Correa saying he was being persecuted. He disclosed that Assange had argued that “the authorities in his country will not defend his minimum guarantees in front of any government or ignore the obligation to protect a politically persecuted citizen”.

Assange has said it was impossible for him to return to his homeland because it would not protect him from being extradited to “a foreign country that applies the death penalty for the crime of espionage and sedition”.

A statement issued on behalf of the embassy, said, “The decision to consider 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.”

“In order to reach a proper decision in line with international law on Assange’s application, the Ecuadorian government will be seeking the views of the governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden and the United States of America”, the statement said.

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