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International Forum Discuss Ecuador grants asylum to WikiLeaks' Assange at the Political Forums; News From AP | TBO.com LONDON (AP) -- He's won asylum in Ecuador, but Julian Assange is no closer to ...

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Old 08-16-2012, 02:07 PM
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Default Ecuador grants asylum to WikiLeaks' Assange

News From AP | TBO.com

Quote:
LONDON (AP) -- He's won asylum in Ecuador, but Julian Assange is no closer to getting there.

The dramatic decision by the Latin American nation to identify the WikiLeaks founder as a political refugee is a symbolic boost for the embattled ex-hacker, but legal experts say that does little to help him avoid extradition to Sweden - and does much to drag Britain and Ecuador into an international faceoff.

"We're at something of an impasse," lawyer Rebecca Niblock said shortly after the news broke. "It's not a question of law anymore. It's a question of politics and diplomacy."

The silver-haired Australian shot to international prominence in 2010 after he began publishing a huge trove of American diplomatic and military secrets - including a quarter million U.S. embassy cables that shed a harsh light on the backroom dealings of U.S. diplomats. Amid the ferment, two Swedish women accused him of sexual assault; Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden ever since.

The convoluted saga took its latest twist on Thursday, when Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino announced that he had granted political asylum to Assange, who has been holed up at the small, coastal nation's embassy since June 19. He said Ecuador was taking action because Assange faces a serious threat of unjust prosecution at the hands of U.S. officials.

That was a nod to the fears expressed by Assange and others that the Swedish sex case is merely the opening gambit in a Washington-orchestrated plot to make him stand trial in the United States - something disputed by both by Swedish authorities and the women involved.

Patino said he'd tried to get guarantees from the Americans, the British, and the Swedes that Assange would not be extradited to the United States, but that all three had rebuffed him. If Assange were extradited to the U.S. "he would not have a fair trial, could be judged by special or military courts, and it's not implausible that cruel and degrading treatment could be applied, that he could be condemned to life in prison, or the death penalty."

Ecuador's decision was warmly received by the 41-year-old Assange, who watched the decision being announced in a live televised news conference from Quito surrounded by Ecuadorian diplomats. In a statement he praised Ecuador's "courage."

Pro-Assange demonstrators gathered outside the Edwardian-era embassy building, just down the street from the famous Harrods department store, and broke out into cheers when the news filtered out onto the street.

"It must have been a tough decision for Ecuador because they had pressure," said Alejandra Cazas, an 18-year-old British-Bolivian citizen just outside the embassy. "Now they have to watch out that he arrives to Ecuador safely."

But British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain will not allow Assange safe passage to Latin America. "There is no legal basis for us to do so," he said.

He said Assange was wanted in Sweden to answer allegations of "serious sexual offenses" and that the extradition had nothing to do with the work of WikiLeaks or with the United States.

Supporters who have visited Assange say he is living inside a tiny office at Ecuador's tiny embassy, a small apartment of five or six rooms inside a larger building which also houses Colombia's embassy.

Assange has a bed, access to a phone and a connection to the Internet. "It's not quite the Hilton," said Gavin MacFadyen, a supporter who has met with Assange inside the apartment.

The diplomatic repercussions continued Thursday with an unlikely confrontation between Sweden and Ecuador.

In a mark of its anger over the asylum ruling, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Ecuador's ambassador to complain about the decision. The country's foreign minister, Carl Bildt, said in a message posted to Twitter that "our firm legal and constitutional system guarantees the rights of each and every one. We firmly reject any accusations to the contrary."

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa did not seem to be any mood for compromise either, posting a tweet which read: "No one is going to frighten us."

The issue already seems to have frayed diplomatic ties between the U.K. and Ecuador. Britain's previous ambassador to Ecuador, Linda Cross, departed earlier this year and had been due to be replaced this month by Patrick Mullee. But his arrival has been delayed.

Ties could fray further if Britain decides to enforce a little-known 1987 law that gives the U.K. the right to enter the embassy to arrest Assange - but most legal experts called such a development unlikely and potentially dangerous.

If Britain carried through with such a move "it would threaten their embassy premises around the world," as it could leave them open to reprisals, said Niblock, who practices at London law firm Kingsley Napley.

Many Britons have memories of the dramatic scene in 1980, when British special forces soldiers burst into the Iranian embassy - at Iran's request - to free hostages captured by gunmen who had broken into the building six days earlier.

Hague insisted Britain had no plan to force entry into Ecuador's mission. "There is no threat here to storm an embassy," he told reporters.

Meanwhile, legal experts and diplomatic historians were abuzz with various unlikely scenarios for Assange's escape from Britain - perhaps hidden in a diplomatic car or smuggled in an oversized diplomatic bag.

Some have speculated Britain could revoke the diplomatic status of Ecuador's embassy - a move which would effectively sever friendly links between the two nations, but allow police to walk inside the apartment and arrest Assange.

Britain's foreign ministry said diplomats would continue discussions with Ecuador aimed at resolving the case, but Hague warned that he expected the diplomatic stalemate to continue.

"This could go on for quite a considerable time as things stand," he told reporters. "There is no time limit for resolving this."
First it was Argentina and now it's Ecudaor. Is there some kind of bad blood between the Brits and S. America???
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:47 AM
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Cool Re: Ecuador grants asylum to WikiLeaks' Assange

Granny says, "Dat's right - try him an' hang him...

US 'debates charging Julian Assange'
Fri, 21 Apr 2017 - The Wikileaks founder has been granted asylum by Ecuador in London so is beyond the reach of the US.
Quote:
The US is debating whether to charge Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, US media report. The organisation, which publishes confidential documents, has been in the cross-hairs of the US for years. Last week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo described it as a "hostile" intelligence service abetted by Russia, and Mr Assange as a "fraud". But the group was last year praised by President Donald Trump for its work during the election campaign. The release of hacked emails belonging to a Hillary Clinton aide were a factor in her losing the election, the Democratic candidate later claimed.


Julian Assange is holed up at an embassy in London

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia was behind the hack and used Wikileaks to harm the chances of Mrs Clinton and favour Mr Trump. But Mr Assange, who has been staying at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, has said the release was not intended to affect the election. He was granted asylum by Ecuador to prevent his extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges. On Thursday, US officials briefed various media on the latest developments, with ABC News saying it is still at the discussion stage. But according to CNN, US authorities have gone as far as preparing charges as they seek his arrest.

The Justice Department has been investigating Mr Assange since his website posted thousands of embarrassing diplomatic cables stolen by a US Army soldier now known as Chelsea Manning. But under President Barack Obama, the department concluded it would be difficult to bring charges, says CNN. The Trump administration has taken a dimmer view and in March, Wikileaks released information on hacking tools it said were used by the CIA. "It's time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is - a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia," said Mr Pompeo.

US 'debates charging Julian Assange' - BBC News
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:37 PM
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Question Re: Ecuador grants asylum to WikiLeaks' Assange

Swedish rape charges dropped against Assange...

Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation
May 19, 2017 -- The Swedish Prosecution Authority on Friday said it dropped a rape investigation targeting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and will revoke his arrest warrant.
Quote:
Sweden's Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny "decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange," the agency said in a statement. Ny filed a request to the Stockholm District Court to revoke the arrest warrant.

Out of four sex crimes allegations against Assange, three -- unlawful coercion and two counts of sexual molestation -- expired in 2015 due to statutes of limitations under Swedish law, while the investigation for the remaining rape allegation, which had an expiration date of 2020, was dropped on Friday. Assange, 44, gained international recognition for publishing thousands of classified U.S. documents through his website, WikiLeaks. Ecuador granted him political asylum in 2012 under the authority of the 1951 Refugee Convention.


Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Friday saw the rape investigation against him dropped by the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

The divisive founder of WikiLeaks has repeatedly denied the accusations of rape and molestation made by two women he met during a trip to Stockholm in 2010. He was arrested in 2010 and he was set for extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault charges alleged by the women, but Assange did not surrender into custody. Swedish authorities never formally charged Assange for the alleged crimes. Assange has said the charges were orchestrated to ultimately extradite him to the United States where he is wanted for questioning about the release of thousands of classified cables in 2010.

WikiLeaks said the British government will arrest Assange regardless of Sweden's decision and the government "refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received an extradition request from the United States." In April, outlets reported U.S. federal prosecutors are considering criminal charges against Assange for leaking diplomatic cables and military documents.

Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation - UPI.com
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:11 PM
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Default Re: Ecuador grants asylum to WikiLeaks' Assange

He got a shave and a haircut.
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