WikiLeaks: Ecuador grants Julian Assange asylum despite UK ‘threats’

Julian Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador over fears he could be extradited to the US and face the death penalty.

Martin Beckford and Rosa Silverman
The Telegraph [UK]
16 Aug 2012

The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the South American country’s London embassy for almost two months as he tries to avoid being sent to Sweden, where two women have accused him of sexual assault.

On Thursday the Ecuadorian government finally announced that it had agreed to give the maverick Australian asylum because of his fears of persecution over the secret files his whistle-blowing organisation has revealed, which he believes could see him sent to face an unfair trial in America.

There was applause as the foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, made the declaration that Mr Assange had been given “diplomatic asylum” at a press conference in the capital, Quito.

“We believe that his fears are legitimate and there are the threats that he could face political persecution.

“We trust that that the UK will offer as soon as possible the guarantee for the safe passage of asylum for Mr Assange and they will respect those international agreements they have signed in the past.”

But Ecuador’s decision is unlikely to end the stand-off over his future as Mr Assange, who is in breach of his bail conditions, faces arrest as soon as he steps outside the embassy premises in Knightsbridge.

The British authorities stepped up the police presence around the building on Wednesday night and warned Ecuador they could use a rarely-cited law to withdraw the embassy’s diplomatic protection…

The article continues at The Telegraph.

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