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back to article Assange granted asylum by Ecuador after US refused to rule out charges

Wikileaker Julian Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador. The Australian geeklord, who is sheltering in the South American country’s London embassy, was granted asylum out of concern he’d face persecution in the West, Ecuador’s foreign minister Ricardo Patino said this afternoon. Assange™ faces extradition to …

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Jop
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The foreign office twitter account has William Hague saying: "The UK does not accept the principle of diplomatic asylum"

Keep hearing the name Pinochet mentioned....

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Pirate

József Cardinal Mindszenty had to hole up in a US Embassy for 15 years. Wonder if the UK will make Assange wait that long. Maybe after a year or two Assange will get really mad and the Ecuadorian government will be smart enough to make him a citizen of Ecuador and have him research methods of cyberware for them against certain other nations...

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Anonymous Coward

So he's been granted Ecuadorian Asylum, so he's now an Ecuadorian?

Can't help but think that it doesn't matter if he is Australian Citizen or Ecuadorian Citizen he will still be arrested on GB soil.

What has changed is that it will now be more difficult to get an Ecuadorian out of the Ecuadorian Embassy.

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FAIL

"Keep hearing the name Pinochet mentioned...."

I bet you think that all modern Germans are responsible for the behaviour of their forebears too.

Watch out for this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/9480944/Julian-Assange-to-issue-statement-in-front-of-embassy-haven.html

I hope that he remains on embassy property. Not really. I want him to lose his balance and fall on to the land in front of the embassy, presumably that will be the hall outside the flat in which the embassy is located.

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About time

Now if only New Zealand would show us another example of how to not fall over yourselves to hand over people who are obviously not terrorists, but people we simply don't like very much. I would be happier thinking my country isn't the overbearing empire the rest of the world says it is. These days it is difficult to think that way without being completely ignorant of world events.

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Holmes

Re: "Now if only New Zealand would show us another example, bla bla,

I see what you did there, but maybe you forget the shrugging frog eating/lentil munching boat bombing incident some time back. It kind of depends on the political influence, rather than the rule of law, (which if phrased properly means everyone's guilty of something).

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Mushroom

Re: "Now if only New Zealand would show us another example, bla bla,

The Frogs are bigger,stronger and they have THE BOMB.

So when they threatened our PM Mr Lange he found he couldn't refuse.

I am not so fond of the Frogs as I was in earlier years.

But still more than I am of America

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Anonymous Coward

Re: About time

The problem is a bit more complex, because it's not just about the UK. Assange (tm) has managed to create a massive diplomatic incident by basically accusing TWO sovereign states of not following their own laws. If that wasn't enough, the git has now managed to draw Equador into this fight as well.

If I were Assange (tm) I would start keeping away from the windows and check my food very carefully in the dark.

The Wikileaks threat of releasing everything at once when something happens to Assange (tm) will happen at some point anyway, so no government is going to lose much sleep over that. Conclusion: him getting an acute case of lead poisoning or the slower route of polonium enriched meals now appears to be much more on the cards than it was 24h ago.

Making him a martyr is not going to matter much either if we take into account the reduction in popularity he has caused all by himself..

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Re: "Now if only New Zealand would show us another example, bla bla,

The threat was economic - to make NZ imports in the EU difficult - not military.

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Re: "Now if only New Zealand would show us another example, bla bla,

What are you on about?

( Apologies if I have just fed a troll. )

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Joke

Re: About time

"If I were Assange (tm) I would start keeping away from the windows and check my food very carefully in the dark."

After a few months I won't be surprised to hear that even his shit glows in the dark.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: About time

So much attention, and he hasn't even been charged.

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Mushroom

Re: "Now if only New Zealand would show us another example, bla bla,

History lesson:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_Rainbow_Warrior

(Though please note the opening box on the WP article.)

Colin

Nuke icon because, as another poster has said, the French do have nuclear weapons.

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Boffin

Re: About time

"Making him a martyr is not going to matter much either if we take into account the reduction in popularity he has caused all by himself.."

Except he hasn't really, amongst the masses. Just look at the comments on the BBC story that seem to have completely forgotten that he's accused of a crime and bail-jumping. Just imagine instead for a moment the (lack) of public sympathy if that was a greasy looking nobody from Bognor (no offence, Bognites: I'm sure it's a lovely place). The majority still swallow the "It's all lies and the US will extradite him and hang him" line of crap that he's spewed, sadly (If you don't believe me, just watch the downvotes on this). He's still a hero in the eyes of many.

The truth is that a humiliated Assange is so much better for the US (and indeed the UK) than a dead or extradited to the US one. All the US really has to do is sit back and watch him make a tit of himself, make no move to extradite him or raise a finger against him, and then have all his paranoid media whoring come to nothing, making him look like what he is: A guy trying to escape rape charges by leveraging the media.

The only people who actually want him dead right now are the conspiracy theorists, so they can say "Ooohhh... It was the CIA/Mossad/Illuminanti". The CIA are probably dead happy to have him as "Accused multiple rapist, a fugitive from the authorities in two countries". I know if I were in charge of his case at Langney, I'd be sipping a mojito, cackling and rubbing my hands with glee at the moment.

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Re Bognor

No it isn't.

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Thumb Up

Re: About time

"Just look at the comments on the BBC story that seem to have completely forgotten that he's accused of a crime and bail-jumping."

This comprehensively deals with the angles from k00ks on Reg forums who've been dribbling rubbish into the story:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19287569

The game is approaching its natural end. Time for Julie to come out and kiss the fat lady as she warbles.

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Black Helicopters

Getting him out

So if Plod is going to arrest him on sight, how to get him out?

Conceal him in one of a number of very large bulky diplomatic packages?

Lead him through the sewerage system to a safe manhole some distance away?

Disguise him as a policeman and let him walk out?

Vaulting horse in the garden - tunnel underneath?

Build a glider in the attic?

I think we could have a reality TV series here...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Getting him out

He could just stay there, get an inside gym and a fitness trainer, eat delicious embassy food, enjoy high ranking ambassadorial parties, play counter strike over the buildings lan, run a few internet businesses.

No need to go anywhere really.

Just chill out until everyone gets bored.

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Re: Getting him out

He won't be able to fit though the door with all the Ferrero Rocher he's been scoffing..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Getting him out

Maybe disguise him by covering him with a condom before you sneak him through the front door. Oh wait! If he'd done that in the first place he wouldn't be in this mess.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Getting him out

well if the country wasn't odd enough for you to have sex and then a few days later someone can go "wait a minute, you know, I think I'll now remove my consent for having sex" there wouldn't be a problem...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Getting him out

Are you suggesting that in any right-minded country, a charge of non-consensual sex is only ever investigated if it is reported straight after the event? What time-limit would you place on the report taking place before treating it seriously enough to speak to the person in question?

None of us here are standing in the light of all of that went on and are therefore unfit to comment on whether a crime was committed. What should be clear is that allegations have been raised and need to be investigated, rather than dismissed out of hand. The UK has simply worked through the legal process of dealing with these matters as I expect it would with anyone.

All of this is now moot however. He has since committed a separate crime in this country and should be arrested for that as soon as he steps onto ground which is outside of a convention that prevents it from being done. It's if he wasn't that I'd lose faith in British justice, not for what has happened up to this point.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Getting him out

"It's if he wasn't that I'd lose faith in British justice, not for what has happened up to this point."

I'd been wondering if anyone still had faith in British justice. I certainly have.

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Re: Getting him online

What are the internet facilities like in there?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Getting him out

"Are you suggesting that in any right-minded country, a charge of non-consensual sex is only ever investigated if it is reported straight after the event?"

IIRC the sex was consensual and the accuser even admitted as much to the Swedish authorities. The allegation he's facing is that it was unprotected when his accuser had asked that he wear protection. Under Swedish law that can constitute sexual assault or rape.

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Re: Getting him out

"play counter strike over the buildings lan"

It is a flat.

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Pint

Re: Getting him out

"He could just stay there, get an inside gym and a fitness trainer, eat delicious embassy food, enjoy high ranking ambassadorial parties, play counter strike over the buildings lan, run a few internet businesses."

So (barring the parties; and frankly those are far duller than imagined anyway) a bit like the Swedish prison that he's so keen to avoid.

Except of course he has an indeterminable sentence at present.

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Thumb Up

Re: Getting him out

"All of this is now moot however. He has since committed a separate crime in this country and should be arrested for that as soon as he steps onto ground which is outside of a convention that prevents it from being done."

This. A million times.

Sod what he's done before. He decided that he didn't like what every court in the land told him, so decided to become a fugitive. That's of course after being able to afford a lawyer who replaced a jail cell for a stately home for him. You or I would have rotted in the cells. I don't care if he was snow white before: Right now he's a common criminal who has the benefit of friends in high places.

Short odds though that when the NotW/Brooks trials come up, people will be bitching and whining about "One law for the poor, one for the rich". What do you think is happening here?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Getting him online

There's open wifi, and you have to click through some sort of yeah-whatever-whatever box before you can get online, but after that it's just a free, unmonitored internet connection. Nobody at all listening to everything you do.

Think their embassy is just a flat somewhere, so not as grand as presumed by some, and they probably only have Ferrero Rocher on Sundays after siesta.

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Re: Getting him out

That's a pretty sensible thing really.. Given the amoung of shagging around Lasange had been doing courtesy of his media profile, he'd be a pretty strong candidate as an STD infection vector. If the deal is "OK, but protect me from what you may have picked up", but he refused to do that.. That's putting the other person at risk, thus the interpretation into law.

Maybe not rape in the way we perceive it, but I think sexual assault isn't too far from what a court could judge..

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Re: Getting him out

The only thing which bothers me is that neither the UK nor the Swedish government has completely nixed his assertion that the rape charge is a subtext for passing him on to the USA.

I'd urge Sweden to state that after he is acquitted, or after he serves his sentence in Sweden if he's found guilty, then he'll be allowed unconditional free passage to anywhere in the world that will have him. If he won't voluntarily return to Sweden after that assurance, the conclusion is obvious, and Ecuador would be best advised to throw him out of their embassy into the hands of the UK police.

I've heard that such an assurance is already implicit under EU extradition law, but why not make it explicit? I'm no lawyer so I'm somewhat unconvinced by the former, but would be completely happy with an explicit assurance by the Swedish government. Anyway, why not make explicit what they know to be implied?

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Re: Getting him out

Except for the fact that he has committed a crime in the UK and therefore I'd hope after serving any sentence in Sweden he'd be sent back for sentencing here.

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Anonymous Coward

Sentenced to..

So the headline could read : "US, UK, Sweden Sentence Assange To Life in Ecuadorian Embassy".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sentenced to..

As far as I understand it, the door to his cell is wide open should he wish to leave it. He's in a prison of his own choice, figuratively and literally.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sentenced to..

"He's in a prison of his own choice,"

There's an English term for this kind of choice - 'Hobson's Choice'

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Re: Sentenced to..

Isn't that a move in Mornington Crescent?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sentenced to..

Hobsons is no choice, Asswipe could do plenty, or even prove his innocence of the charges, instead he lives in his walter mitty world of king Julian and everyone else is below him

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Black Helicopters

Whilst I couldn't care less whether Assange ends up a free man, imprisoned in Sweden or languishing in Gitmo, you do have to wonder why the UK are bothering to threaten to enter the Embassy, unless they've been strongly encouraged to do so by the Yanks. He's not going anywhere, and can be arrested and extradited as soon as he steps outside the Embassy.

Threatening the Ecuadorians forces them to grant him asylum (rather than being seen to capitulate). If he ends up in Ecuador, how long till the CIA pop around to say howdy?

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Mushroom

Not very damned long, he'll wind up with two bullets in the head, chest or throat. But you know, drug runners and rebels are pretty endemic to South America. Its all about the Plausible Deniability.

I personally wont shed a tear when it happens, or if his plane disappears over the Atlantic, and I wont shed a tear when we convict his crossdressing stooge Breanna Manning to life in USDB Leavenworth either. But thats just me, Im an American Soldier. Im sure you'd be surprised if I thought otherwise.

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Anonymous Coward

And aren't you a good soldier

Don't question, you will think what you are told to think and do what you are told to do.

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Trollface

@FrankAlpha

Is that the best you can do? Come on, some more rousing invective from the Land of the Free*)... where apparently the concept of "innocence until proven guilty" still goes so strong.

*) though you guys did save Europe's bacon... twice. Thanks for that.

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From what I can make out, the UK reminded Ecuador of the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987. In summary, embassies have their status only while the secretary of state recognises them as such, and diplomatic premises need to be used exclusively for diplomatic purposes. The secretary can unilaterally cease to recognise them as such if he thinks international law would allow, it and is supposed to take some prescribed factors into account, including safety to the public.

The embassy isn't foreign soil or anything like that, regardless of popular opinion.

In this case, based entirely on probably uninformed speculation, I guess the argument goes that the embassy has a man who is wanted for assault and contempt of court and — allowing for the fact that he doesn't have any sort of immunity — is planning surreptitiously to transport him through British territory, itself a crime. So the secretary of state could have grounds to conclude that the Ecuadorian embassy is being used as a property in which to plan the commission of crime rather than for diplomatic purposes and revoke its status. After that the police are obviously free to enter.

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Anonymous Coward

> you do have to wonder why the UK are bothering to threaten to enter the Embassy,

Because they're required to honour extradition warrants by UK and international law?

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Facepalm

a lot of people would start referring to the UK Head of State as Ayatollah Elizabeth.

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Meh

Re: And aren't you a good soldier

Actually he's a lousy soldier, assuming he is one. The US PR campaign about the US military is completely unlike what he posted. If the US managed to get the UK to get el Reg to cough up his real identity, and he was a soldier, I wouldn't be surprised to see him facing a court for conduct unbecoming.

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Anonymous Coward

No I´m just surprised that you know what a thought is. After all so few lying trolls do

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So?

@FrankAlphaXII

American Soldier? So what. Citizens of your county might get all misty eyed and start weeping when 'our boys in the military' are mentioned, not so much over here.

Arming countries in turmoil then blowing the shit out of them a decade later doesn't speak to me of any clear forethought or wisdom.

Not saying those regimes didn't need to go, but take a look at your own now and again. Assange is an asshole granted, but look how easily he's made your paymasters look impotent. I fear that's the reason they want him.

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Hell no

> I'm sure you'd be surprised if I thought otherwise.

I'd be happy if I could believe you thought.

Just exactly what are you chaps doing in GITMO, Iraq, Afghanistan and various other places when you are not shooting each other, us and them?

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though you guys did save Europe's bacon

Did you ever get your bicycles back?

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FAIL

" you do have to wonder why the UK are bothering to threaten to enter the Embassy, unless they've been strongly encouraged to do so by the Yanks. He's not going anywhere, and can be arrested and extradited as soon as he steps outside the Embassy."

Like everything this government does, blunder into an embarrassng situation. Don't assume a conspiracy when gross incompetence can so easily be the cause.

The British Government now has a true catch 22 situation here now by going this far and Ecuador calling the bluff. The choice is between setting two legal precedents that they definately do not want either of which to happen.

1), the precedent of someone on the run from the law in both Sweden and the UK and wanted under an EAW to escape justice in this manner.

2) The precedent of revoking immunity and violating the embassy to arresst Assange, something which could then be used against diplomatic posts all over the world, bringing to an end 400 years of the diplomatic immunity tradition.

Good job Hague, Ecuador has now called your bluff. What are you gonna do now?

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