Ecuador grants Julian Assange asylum
The left wing Ecuadoran government gave Wikileaks founder Julian Assange asylum and set the stage for a diplmoatic row with Great Britain.
Assange took refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London in June and the British government has made it clear if he attempts to leave, he will be arrested.
The announcement was made by the Ecuadorean foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, at a news conference in Quito, where the government set a defiant tone over pressure from Britain. Just before the announcement, President Rafael Correa said: "No one is going to terrorize us!"
.Mr. Patiño said he hoped Britain would permit Mr. Assange to leave the embassy in London for Ecuador - a request Britain has rejected, saying it has a legal obligation to extradite Mr. Assange to Sweden, where is wanted to face questioning about allegations of sexual misbehavior.
The minister said his government had taken the decision after the authorities in Britain, Sweden and the United States had refused to give guarantees that, if Mr. Assange were extradited to Sweden, he would not then be sent on to America to face other charges.
The British Foreign Office said it was disappointed by the Ecuadorean announcement but remained committed to a negotiated outcome to the standoff.
Those close to Mr. Assange have said one reason he does not want to be sent to Sweden is that he fears being charged with crimes in the United States for the release in 2010 of thousands of secret documents and diplomatic cables relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to American relations with other governments.
"Sexual misbehavior?" Is that what the New York Times is calling rape these days?
The British have threatened to march into the embassy and take Assange away, but that is not likely to happen. More likely, is that Assange will be given a room in the embassy where he will stay indefinitely.
More comfortable than jail, but no freedom of movement is about the best that Assange can hope for. And who knows? Eventually Ecuador's ridiculous president may tire of him and give him the boot. If so, Assange will then become aquainted with what it's like to be in a real prison.