Uncertainty Over Fate of Assange's Asylum Plea

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Common Dreams

Uncertainty Over Fate of Assange's Asylum Plea

Wikileaks founder could remain in Ecuadorean embassy 'for a long time'

by
Common Dreams staff

Photo: AP/Tim Hales

After a third night in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange acknowledged Thursday that he doesn't know if Ecuador is going to approve his plea for political asylum in the South American country.

Ecuador President Rafael Correa has stated that he will take his time with deliberations over the weighty decisions, and told reporters in Quito on Thursday night that careful deliberations and consultations with other nations were involved.

"We are going to have to discuss with and seek the opinions of other countries. We don't wish to offend anyone, least of all a country we hold in such deep regard as the United Kingdom," Correa stated.

Assange began his bid for Asylum in Ecuador after Britain's supreme court finally ruled that Assange will be extradited to Sweden, where he faces accusations of sexual assault. From there it is likely that he would be sent to the US on what Assange and his supporters maintain are politically motivated charges of espionage over his work with whistle blowing website Wikileaks.

"We had heard that the Ecuadoreans were sympathetic in relation to my struggles and the struggles of the organization with the United States," Assange told ABC, explaining his asylum destination choice.

Assange remains hopeful, however.

"The Ecuadorean people have been quite supportive. I heard (the) Ecuadorean Ambassador in Australia has been making supportive comments. They are sympathetic over a long period of time," he stated In an telephone interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp.

"We hope the asylum application will be viewed favorably. Now it's is a matter of gathering extensive evidence of what is happening in the U.S. and submitting that with a formal request."

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Associated Press: Assange: Ecuador asylum bid may not succeed

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange acknowledged Thursday that he doesn't know whether Ecuador will approve his unusual plea for political asylum, as he spent a third night inside the country's London embassy.

Assange told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio in an interview that he had mounted his bizarre request for political asylum in Ecuador because his native Australia had made an "effective declaration of abandonment" by refusing to intervene in his planned extradition from Britain to Sweden.

"We had heard that the Ecuadoreans were sympathetic in relation to my struggles and the struggles of the organization with the United States," Assange told ABC, explaining his actions in his first public comment since launching his asylum bid.

However, Assange acknowledged there was no guarantee that his plea would be successful, and indicated he didn't know when a decision on his case would be made.

Ecuador President Rafael Correa told reporters in Quito on Thursday night that careful deliberations and consultations with other nations were involved.

"We are going to have to discuss with and seek the opinions of other countries. We don't wish to offend anyone, least of all a country we hold in such deep regard as the United Kingdom," Correa said after arriving from a climate summit in Brazil.

"Once a decision is made we can talk about safe passage and such things," he added.

British authorities say they are poised to pounce the moment Assange steps out of Ecuador's London embassy.

He would be arrested, they say, for breaching the terms of his bail, which include an overnight curfew at a registered address.

A divisive figure with a knack for garnering attention, Assange has been fighting since 2010 to avoid extradition from Britain to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sexual assaults on two women.

He denies the claims, and says the case against him is politically motivated.

Journalists and a handful of WikiLeaks supporters have been gathered outside the Edwardian building that houses the embassy in London's Knightsbridge district in anticipation of a resolution to the saga.

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