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back to article Assange's Ecuador asylum bid has violated £200k UK bail, say cops

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange™ – who is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London - has breached his UK bail conditions, Scotland Yard confirmed this morning. As we reported yesterday, the 40-year-old Australian is seeking political asylum in Ecuador, after his attempts to appeal against extradition to Sweden to …

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Anonymous Coward

Equador will hold him until some minor fracas with the UK gov is resolved to their satisfaction. Then he will be punted to the curb just as a plod patrol car is cruising by the front gates.

St. Julian is still circling the drain, but the results are inevitable.

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Devil

The fool should have gone to the Argentine Embassy.

That way...maybe the Argentines could have traded him for the Falklands. Just a thought.

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Pint

Doubtful

Sorry, but my money is on them tossing him out after Ecuador can thumb their noses at the US. He'll soon lose his value and at such time they will decide he's too much of a prat to deal with and then boot his ass out.

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Re: The fool should have gone to the Argentine Embassy.

I think we would have told them to keep him.

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Re: The fool should have gone to the Argentine Embassy.

No way the UK would trade him for the Falklands, but the Argentinians might give him asylum just to twist the lions tail..

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g e
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Petty, petty, petty

Presumably he's not supposed to leave the country either. The Embassy is technically Ecuador, is it not, 24 hours a day?

I wonder how long after the phonecall from the USA they came up with this one. Anyway he's fleeing persecution now, and I'm sure UK.gov needs that 200k badly.

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Re: Petty, petty, petty

No.

This is a falsehood. It's still UK soil. However, it's considered "illegal" for law enforcement officers to enter without authorisation form the ambassador (but, when he says Yes, they can come in and arrest Assange if they want).

Google the relevant laws for embassies. The ambassador has immunity to prosecution, yes, the embassy is still English soil, though. We just have an arrangement that we won't storm in and arrest everyone there without permission. That's considered standard fare for embassies worldwide and has been for decades.

Also, see the QI episode where they mention this too. Nor can a ship's captain marry a couple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Petty, petty, petty

Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations:

Article 31

Inviolability of the consular premises

1.Consular premises shall be inviolable to the extent provided in this article.

2.The authorities of the receiving State shall not enter that part of the consular premises which is used exclusively for the purpose of the work of the consular post except with the consent of the head of the consular post or of his designee or of the head of the diplomatic mission of the sending State. The consent of the head of the consular post may, however, be assumed in case of fire or other disaster requiring prompt protective action.

3.Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2 of this article, the receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the consular premises against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the consular post or impairment of its dignity.

4.The consular premises, their furnishings, the property of the consular post and its means of transport shall be immune from any form of requisition for purposes of national defence or public utility. If expropriation is necessary for such purposes, all possible steps shall be taken to avoid impeding the performance of consular functions, and prompt, adequate and effective compensation shall be paid to the sending State.

Full: http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/9_2_1963.pdf

Homework version: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna_Convention_on_Consular_Relations

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Petty, petty, petty

A downvote for posting a relevant link ? Seriously ?

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Re: Petty, petty, petty

A downvote for moaning about a downvote!

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jai
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breach of bail conditions?

so if he's violated his bail conditions, that means the £200k isn't returned? And presumably he gets locked up until he's extradited then?

So all these people are gonna loose the money they gave him?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/9343739/Julian-Assange-celebrities-could-lose-thousands-from-WikiLeaks-founders-bail-breach.html

Serves them right, really. If the charges were just relating to the wikileaks stuff, then fair enough. But helping someone try and avoid these allegation of rape and molestation makes you almost complicit in the acts he's accused of. And judging from his concerted efforts to avoid the allegations, seems likely he believes himself guilty of them.

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Re: breach of bail conditions?

"But helping someone try and avoid these allegation of rape and molestation makes you almost complicit in the acts he's accused of. And judging from his concerted efforts to avoid the allegations, seems likely he believes himself guilty of them."

That's right, anyone who fights allegations must be guilty so why not just jail/extradite them without legal process. Just look at Salman Rushdie, he's no better, he and everyone who helped him avoid the allegations of blasphemy should be shipped off to Iran to face summary judgement.

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200k loss: how painful to his guarantors ?

I was under the impression - which of course could be mistaken - that the people who posted his bail would be able to absorb the financial loss with no pain at all.

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Re: breach of bail conditions?

Can't really feel sorry for them, to be honest.

I'd have to think twice if I was asked to post bail for my best friend or a close relative, let alone a stranger whose cause I may agree with (I don't, by the way, and think he's pretty much getting what he deserved with all this hassle, especially that the leaks in question were so petty and minor that it wasn't worth the effort, and the sensationalism when he could have just agreed to give evidence to the Swedish court by, e.g. video (which he could have then published online, court permitting)). I certainly wouldn't be putting up huge sums in front of a court as a guarantee that I believe they won't do a runner - it's not the huge sums that would put me off doing that (I'd be getting those back from the culprit as soon as they got out of jail), but the guarantee to the court!

Posting bail for someone is a HUGE thing to do. You have to be pretty certain that they didn't do it (i.e. they were with you at the time), and would never run away, to even consider it. And if I did post bail, I'd keep an eye on the guy myself - sod the police, he wouldn't have made it to the Ecuadorian embassy if I'd been the one posting bail for him - I'd have handed him in myself because that's an absolute breach of trust over the whole "bailing him out" process I would have undertaken. And if he did get that far, he'd have to deal with me when he got out of there too.

Posting bail is not something you should do lightly or for a celebrity (that's all he is) with a cause you support. It's a serious undertaking that you are vouching for that person's trustworthiness in front of a court.

And, to turn around and breach bail on your friends who did that for you is probably more disgusting than anything Wikileaks published from the Manning leaks. The only thing I can think is that he's trying to make EVERYONE hate him as publicly as possible so that it's impossible to get a fair jury who don't know who he is or how much of a moron he's been.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: breach of bail conditions?

"so if he's violated his bail conditions, that means the £200k isn't returned? And presumably he gets locked up until he's extradited then?"

You are correct yes, basically Assange in one foul swoop has just ensured his supporters will not get their money back. I can't imagine they would be helping him any more after losing all that money.

And if he walks outside the embassy he faces re-arrest and imprisonment until extradition.

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Re: breach of bail conditions?

Bail is granted so that you return to court as and when requested by the court, but you otherwise have some freedom and are not detained on remand.

The conditions are there in an attempt to detect someone fleeing, or where such conditions are in place, prevent interfering with witnesses and victims, visiting certain locations, etc.

Breaching the bail conditions means he can be detained on remand until the courts request him

Assuming he attends court when requested, it is up to the court if the bail can be returned.

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@Zombie Wombie

"That's right, anyone who fights allegations must be guilty so why not just jail/extradite them without legal process. Just look at Salman Rushdie, he's no better, he and everyone who helped him avoid the allegations of blasphemy should be shipped off to Iran to face summary judgement."

But he's not fighting allegations, is he? He's fighting extradition to *face* allegations. A slight but crucial difference.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: breach of bail conditions?

I've just been out, and it is indeed beach ball conditions.

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jai
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@Zombie Womble Re: breach of bail conditions?

I think the penalty of rape charges in Sweeden is not quite the same as the penalty of blasphemy in Iran. It's a bit much to say the two are the same isn't it?

Yes, innocent until proven guilty, I totally agree. But the whole point is that you have to fight allegations, not run away from them. And when his first attempt to run away failed, avoiding extradition from the UK, he's now run away from that too by seeking asylum. These are not the actions of a man who believes himself to be innocent. His own actions are proving him guilty.

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In the television show "Blake's 7"

Roj Blake is a dissident against an increasingly oppressive government quite a long time in the future. But the government doesn't want to advertise that, so instead they arrest and convict him of child abuse, by tampering with the justice computer. Back in this reality, we know that voting machines already are routinely and easily fiddled with, what else?

By the way, they said Osama bin Laden had a disgusting collection of pornography. I'm not his greatest fan and I could suspect him of serious misogyny but I'm still sceptical of -that-.

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Re: In the television show "Blake's 7"

Trying to fight extradition doesnt prove you're guilty.

Trying to fight extradition by concocting a conspiracy story about the US using Sweden as a front that doesnt stand up to even the smallest bit of scutiny when you look into Swedish/EU law, or UK/USA extradition practice however does convince me he is.

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Re: breach of bail conditions?

if your then found guilty of the alleged crime, do you getthe bail money back? or is that dependent on innocence?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: breach of bail conditions?

Rushdie = straw man. Sweden won't jail him without trial, and extradition IS a legal process

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Re: Osama's porn stash

Indeed. It is *much* more likely that he was unable to update his AV software for a decade and the botnets found him before the US did.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: breach of bail conditions?

But "rendition", which has happened from Sweden previously, is definitely NOT a legal process!

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Re: breach of bail conditions?

Its not as if rendition hasnt happened with UK help before... Theres a whole airbase in Diego Garcia....

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@AC; Wednesday 20th June 2012 15:49 GMT

Do you *honestly* think Sweden is going to allow a rendition of such a high-profile individual? Do you honestly think the US is going to expose rendition pratices to the kinds of scruitiny that making Assange 'vanish' would cause?

If so, you're living in a paranoid cloud cuckoo land.

Nope. Assange is just a moral coward.

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Re: @AC; Wednesday 20th June 2012 15:49 GMT

With the UK extradition law so biased towards the US, surely he'd have *less* chance of being extradited there from Sweden?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Zombie Womble breach of bail conditions?

"...Yes, innocent until proven guilty..."

Er, no - it's innocent UNLESS proven guilty.

As for "His own actions are proving him guilty."

Er, no again - they most definitely aren't.

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Re: In the television show "Blake's 7"

I'm not, may well be disinformation, but far from a surprise if it's true.

Could go into real anecdotes, but will just suggest you remove the blinders.

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So what happens if Assange is given asylum?

Does the UK simply let him go to Ecuador? Or do the police wait outside the embassy until he appears? I'm sure there must be conventions but I suspect these would be thrown out if the US was desperate enough to see him extradited to Sweden.

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Stop

I wonder if this gets downvoted ...

Has the US actually shown any signs of wanting to extradite Assange. You know, like filing papers, or preparing a case.

I think Assanges nightmare, is being extradited to Sweden and ignored by the US ... for the second time in a day I have cause to think of Oscar Wilde's observation about the only thing worse than being talked about.

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Re: I wonder if this gets downvoted ...

Wrong, wrong, wrong. A simple search on google - heard of that? - would reveal that the US have had a grand jury empanelled for over two years specifically for this purpose.

So, to keep it simple for you. Are you going to downvoted. Yes!

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Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum?

One of 4 things will happen if he gets granted Asylum.

1. Ecuador gets an agreement from the UK to allow him to leave on a flight for Ecuador.

2. Ecuador grants Assange diplomatic status so he is immune to arrest on his trip to the airport.

3. They hide him in a very large diplomatic bag.

4. He lives in the Embassy unable to step outside without arrest for years until one of the above conditions are met or the abassador decides he wants to kick him out. (see the case of the man who lived in a US Embassy for 15 years being unable to leave the country)

I'll get my coat, its the one with "Diplomatic Immunity" on the front and "its just been revoked" on the back.

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With respect to the "it's a stitch-up" school of thought

The generally reliable and interesting legal blogger Jack of Kent posted:

http://jackofkent.com/2012/06/assange-would-the-rape-allegation-also-be-rape-under-english-law/

which seems quite plain that the allegation made would be handled as rape in the UK too, as such is an extradictable offense, and that the court having no reason to believe Swedish justice deranged (or no more so than UK...) has simply no basis for not granting the extradition request.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum?

Does the UK simply let him go to Ecuador? Yes there is a tunnel in the basement of the embassy leading directly to Ecuador.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum?

The CIA will have been working with their people in the Ecuadorean embassy to ensure 3. happens. Their preference is he's put into several normal sized diplomatic bags, not one big one. No one will hear about him again, he will have simply disappeared.

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Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum?

given M.Thatcher was quite happy to let the whole Libyan embassy walk free after someone there shot a policewomen I say that the protection offered by diplomatic immunity is pretty sacrosanct - almost as sacrosanct as offshore funds.

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Meh

Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum?

I think they let him go to Ecuador to rot there. Once there he'd be refused entry to any other country other where by nationality he has a right (Australia?) to return. If the Ecuadoreans are daft enough to give him asylum I'd be surprised if UK authorities are not happy to be shot of him, once they have collected their £200,000, not that that paltry amount would cover the state prosecutors costs concerning the extradition trial so far. Besides which, he'd probably have diplomatic immunity from arrest in transit from here to there as Ecuador's diplomatic baggage.

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Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum?

Equador cannot give Assange diplomatic immunity.

He would have to be suggested as a diplomat by Equador and accredited by the UK for him to gain diplomatic immunity in the UK.

I don't like his chances for accreditation.

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Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum? @Tom 7

>given M.Thatcher was quite happy to let the whole Libyan embassy walk free

Ah, but the other M.Thatcher, her son, probably allegedly and whetever else ...edly had a big arms deal with Libya that she didn't want to put in jeopardy.

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Stop

Unfair !

Mrs Thatcher was not "happy" to let the Libyans go. She was incandescant with rage. The government of the day took very detailed and exact legal guidance on the matter, and were advised that since the occupants of the embassy had been accepted as diplomats by the UK, then it would require the Libyan government to remove that status, if anything could be done. Any attempt to arrest or bring them to trial would have been frustrated by the courts, as the UK is a signatory of the Vienna convention.

Libya chose not to revoke the diplomatic status, so the UK was left with no alternative to expel them.

I was in the presence of a senior met officer at the time of the shooting. His radio went off, and he excused himself (he was part of the armed response team). Chatting to him sometime after, he said that the Met would never forget, and if the situation ever changed they would seek to get those responsible before a UK court. The fact that (with him since retired) some met officers went out to Libya last year, with the sole purpose of advancing the investigation - 25 years on.

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Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum? @Tom 7

OK she wasn’t happy. But that was meant to show just how sacrosanct the rules are. If Assange gets asylum he's regarded as being on their soil already and magically stays on it while under the care of the embassy - and that means all the way to Ecuador by bike and rowing boat if they so decree.

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Facepalm

Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum?

"Does the UK simply let him go to Ecuador? Yes there is a tunnel in the basement of the embassy leading directly to Ecuador."

Downvoted presumably by a mining engineer who needs to get out more.

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Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum?

>Downvoted presumably by a mining engineer who needs to get out more

Ken, you have to understand that some people can barely read the words they see let alone comprehend their gist when grouped together so it's hardly surprising that someone has taken the comment seriously. Yes, you're probably right, it does sound like a mining engineer.

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Re: With respect to the "it's a stitch-up" school of thought

>>which seems quite plain that the allegation made would be handled as rape in the UK too

True, however this would only be the case had she not already consented to sex already that evening, in the UK it would be a valid defense to say "we went to bed, she consented to sex, as it was a matter of minutes and we were still in bed together, I presumed consent was still in place".

The "equivalent" crime would have to be based on conditional consent (i.e. "I only consent if you wear a condom"), which isn't structured as rape in UK law.

Given the women are not pressing charges and there's no independent evidence (too late for tests, and SMS logs shows boasting of sex without any mention of rape) any prosecution is very unlikely, the UK CPS probably would not consder the case in the public interest to pursue, I don't think that English law would take it very far.

Don't get me wrong, it's quite possible Assange is a rapist, I can't say if he's definitely guilty, or definitely innocent, and under law that means you should be free, this is true for all crimes, it doesn't matter if you bugger sheep or are a serial killer, no evidence, not guilty. If you think you might be a victim of a crime then report as early as you can and consider how you can best preserve evidence.

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Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum?

2 requires the UK government to recognise him as a diplomat.

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Re: So what happens if Assange is given asylum? @Tom 7

only while in their offices, not outside, in their cars, or on their bikes etc

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>> in the UK it would be a valid defense to say "...I presumed consent was still in place".

Not according to the Magstrates' Court ruling quoted by JoK:

However, what is alleged here is that Mr Assange “deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep, was in a helpless state”. In this country that would amount to rape.

And (to the very little extent I understand all things legal) the test for extradition being applied isn't whether it is probable that a successful prosecution could be made in this country, but whether the alleged offenses - IF PROVEN - are sufficiently serious. From the same ruling:

As I am satisfied that the specified offences are extradition offences I must go on to consider whether any of the bars to extradition specified in section 11 are applicable. No bars are raised and none is found.

Of course this trusts that the legal system being extradicted to is not inherently unfair (we don't generally sign treaties with those that are, and generally expect good reciprocity from those we do sign with - of course here relations with the USA remain an embarrassment) and where potential punishments are in breech of fundamental principles (principally capital offenses since the UK has no death penalty) extradition may blocked. But here the court found that no such issues exist, and the High Court agreed.

Now if the USA is determined to do some bait and switch and if one fears they're completely rogue then living under an assumed identity will be the only good defense, since some malign concept such as "extraordinary rendition" can always be invoked and Mr Assange will simply vanish. But if the USA is ready to resort to such dire steps I would have expected them to already have done so.

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