Photo courtesy of Seaword Magazine
The Ecuadorean government has officially granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This morning, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino made the announcement, and declared the government accepted that Assange’s “fears” were warranted, and could face political persecution and measures, so asylum was necessary to avoid this persecution.
This decision did not divulge whether Assange could be granted safe passage to Ecuador or not. The Ecuadorean government indicated its hope that the United Kingdom would respect Ecuador’s decision and allow Assange—now a political refugee—the right to leave the Ecuador embassy in the UK for Ecuador.
A list of points show why the situation could end up being one of “prejudice”and violation of Assange’s rights, integrity and risk to personal safety and freedom.
Some of that list include:
- Assange is an award-winning communications professional known internationally for his struggle for freedom of expression, press freedom and human rights;
- That there is strong evidence of retaliation by the country or countries that produced the information disclosed by Mr. Assange, retaliation that may endanger their safety, integrity, and even his life;
- That, despite diplomatic efforts by Ecuador, countries which have required adequate safeguards to protect the safety and life of Mr. Assange, have refused to facilitate them;
- The possibility of the extradition of Mr. Assange to a third country outside the European Union without proper guarantees for their safety and personal integrity;
- That legal evidence clearly shows that, given an extradition to the United States of America, Mr. Assange would not have a fair trial, could be tried by special courts or military;
- That while Mr. Assange must answer for the investigation in Sweden, Ecuador is aware that the Swedish prosecutor has had a contradictory attitude that prevented Mr. Assange the full exercise of the legitimate right of defense;
- Ecuador has found that Mr. Assange is without protection and assistance to be received from the State which is a citizen;
Ecuador approached the Swedish authorities, urged them to come question Assange in the Ecuador embassy in the UK and even asked that they ensure he would not be extradited to the US if he ended up in the UK. Sweden did not offer any diplomatic assurance that Assange would not eventually be extradited to the US while in custody over sexual allegations.