Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Ecuador draws closer to Assange decision

14 August 2012, 13:10

Quito - Ecuador is likely to announce a decision on whether to grant political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before the end of the week in a case with diplomatic implications around the world, President Rafael Correa said on Monday.

Assange has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 19 June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sex crime allegations.

The former computer hacker, who enraged Washington in 2010 when his WikiLeaks website published thousands of secret US diplomatic cables, says he fears he could be sent to the United States, where he believes his life would be at risk.

"We have to review the process in Sweden," Correa said in a television interview. "We have to look at the possibility that he may be extradited to the United States, that there may be a secret court there, that he may face the death penalty.

"We expect to have a meeting on Wednesday [with Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino] and I hope to make an announcement before the end of the week."

Leftist leader Correa said he sympathises with Assange but also feels respect for the British legal system and for international law. He said his government already has gathered enough information to take a responsible decision.

Motivation for choice unclear

Neither US nor Swedish authorities have charged Assange with anything. Swedish prosecutors want to question him about allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two WikiLeaks supporters in 2010. Assange says he had consensual sex with the women.

It is not clear how Assange would travel to Ecuador if he is granted asylum. By diplomatic convention, British police cannot enter the embassy without Ecuador's approval. But he has no way of boarding a flight to Ecuador without passing through London and exposing himself to arrest.

Correa last month met with Assange's mother, who travelled to the Andean country to plead for her son's asylum request. Patino also met with former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, who was appointed to head Assange's legal team.

It is not clear why Assange, an Australian citizen, chose Ecuador but he interviewed Correa online in May and the two exchanged plaudits. The interview showed a shared distaste for US foreign policy and big media outlets.

"Cheer up. Welcome to the club of the persecuted," Correa told Assange at the end of the 25-minute interview.

Assange's choice of Ecuador has drawn criticism from supporters and unleashed a media storm. He sees himself as the standard-bearer of a global struggle for media freedom yet requested asylum from a government that watchdogs accuse of seeking to stamp out criticism in the media.

Like other Latin American presidents, including Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales, Correa is a fierce critic of what they see as US imperialism.

Correa expelled the US ambassador in 2011 after US diplomatic cables disclosed by WikiLeaks alleged that his government turned a blind eye on police corruption. In 2007, he refused to extend a lease letting the US military use the Manta air base for counter-narcotics flights.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...