Assange Embassy Controversy: Britain Threatens To Raid Ecuador’s Embassy Over Amnesty Issue

Published on Huffington Post, by Gonzalo Solano, August 15, 2012.

QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador accused Britain on Wednesday of threatening to storm its London embassy to arrest Julian Assange after the U.K. issued a stern warning to the South American nation ahead of its decision on an asylum bid by the WikiLeaks founder. 

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Britain had earlier in the day issued “a written threat that it could assault our embassy” if Assange is not handed over.

Patino also said he would announce on Thursday morning whether Ecuador would grant the request of the secret-spilling former Australian hacker, who took refuge in Ecuador’s embassy on June 19 to avoid extradition to Sweden. Assange faces questioning there for alleged sexual misconduct.

As news broke of the warning, police were seen reinforcing Scotland Yard’s presence outside the embassy in a tony London neighborhood near the Harrods department store … //

… Assange, whose publishing via the Internet of thousands of sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables and military dispatches has angered U.S. officials, says the charges against him are trumped up.

His supporters say they believe the U.S. has secretly indicted him and would extradite him from Sweden.

Correa has said Assange could face the death penalty in the United States and for that reason he considers the asylum request a question of political persecution.

Analysts in Ecuador expressed doubts that Britain would raid the embassy.

Professor Julio Echeverria of Quito’s FLACSO university said Britain “has a long establish tradition in Europe of respecting diplomatic missions,” which under international law are considered sovereign territory.

A former Ecuadorean ambassador to London, Mauricio Gandara, told The Associated Press “I refuse to believe in this threat because if asylum is granted the British government will not grant safe passage and Mr. Assange could be in the embassy for a long time.” (full text).

Links:

UK: Don’t Allow US Extradition of Assange;

US Investigation against Assange Unprecedented in Size and Scale;

Defense Motion Details Horrific Conditions Bradley Manning Was Subjected to at Quantico;

Noam Chomsky: Postmodernism? on ZNet, August 14, 2012;

Noam Chomsky: Global Hegemony – The Facts, The Images, on ZNet, August 13, 2012.

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