back to article WikiLeave? Assange tipped for Ecuadorian eviction

The Ecuadorian government has reportedly sought a plan to end Julian Assange's world's longest couch surfing stint record attempt at its London embassy. Ecuador's foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa told the AFP news agency her country would look to bring in a mediator to help settle the legal dispute that has lead to …

Silver badge
Coat

Re: "A third country might offer a new couch"

But he'd still have to get from couch A to couch B, meaning he could be nabbed en route.

Perhaps the offer was more literal. His current couch must be pretty worn out and stinky by now so maybe the Ecuadorian embassy is crowdfunding a replacement having spunked their own housekeeping budget on tissues and air fresheners.

Ambassador thinks: 'if only' ------------->

15
0
Silver badge

Re: "A third country might offer a new couch"

"Perhaps the offer was more literal. His current couch must be pretty worn out and stinky by now so maybe the Ecuadorian embassy is crowdfunding a replacement having spunked their own housekeeping budget on tissues and air fresheners".

Wouldn't it be ironic if the Swedes sent them an Ikea couch, as a not-so-subtle reminder to little Julian ?

19
0
Bronze badge

Re: "A third country might offer a new couch"

"Although the Ecuadorian embassy is now no longer under 24-hour surveillance by the police."

That's what they want you to think...

Probably a lovely antique clock on a shelf opposite the Ecuadorian door with a lovely crystal 720p lens, backup up by an in-house informer.

5
0

Re: "A third country might offer a new couch"

But he'd still have to get from couch A to couch B, meaning he could be nabbed en route. Although the Ecuadorian embassy is now no longer under 24-hour surveillance by the police.

If he could go roof-to-roof by helicopter they wouldn't get a chance. You'd struggle to force a helicopter to land in Knightsbridge without copping massive amounts of flack from... well everbody. It would be dangerous for everybody concerned, including innocent pedestrians and bystanders.

The most you could do is watch as Assange flew from one embassy roof to another and then arrest the pilot when they landed at an actual airport/helipad.

Of course if that pilot is a foreign national on a diplomatic passport brought in specially for the job, then there's not a whole lot they could make stick - pilot goes home, continues flying in home country, is well paid off for their services.

3
0

Re: "A third country might offer a new couch"

Air Traffic control doesn't like helicopters flying anywhere in London except along the Thames (as it's something safe to put the helicopter into if required) and they sure as heck will notice a helicopter coming in disregarding ATC instructions - it'll get shot down by the RAF or otherwise forced to land before it gets on a roof.

4
0
Gold badge

Re: "A third country might offer a new couch"

Of course if that pilot is a foreign national on a diplomatic passport brought in specially for the job, then there's not a whole lot they could make stick

Diplomatic immunity doesn't work like that. You don't just get a diplomatic passport and a free chance to go anywhere and do anything you want.

Diplomatic immunity has to be granted in advance.

Although there are circumstances where it applies to people in transit (such as to UN meetings) so the US can't stop people it doesn't like going to the UN - even though it's in New York.

That's why Ecuador can't just give Assange one of their own diplomatic passports and that be a get out of jail free card.

A country could get a normal diplomatic posting for someone who just happened to be a chopper pilot though, but the FCO might expel a bunch of their diplomats in a fit of pique for a stunt like that.

0
0

Re: "A third country might offer a new couch"

Technically, as soon as you are issued a diplomatic visa for the country you are going to, you are granted diplomatic immunity. Theoretically you need to 'preset your papers' to the local foreign ministry, but in practice just the issuance of a diplomatic visa is enough. Most countries will just issue a diplomatic visa as a matter of course - you often need them when traveling from A to B....

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: "A third country might offer a new couch"

Technically, as soon as you are issued a diplomatic visa for the country you are going to, you are granted diplomatic immunity.

And who, pray, issues that visa?

:)

2
0
Gold badge

Re: "A third country might offer a new couch"

And who, pray, issues that visa?

Turns out the UK doesn't...

The Guardian had a report that Ecuador recently applied for a diplomatic visa for Assange - and the government refused. As was rather political.

I think the FCO feel that there's no particular cost in him hanging out there. But Ecuador pissed them off, and made a great song-and-dance about doing it. So they're not going to give them any help to get out of the situation. And force them to back down publicly and kick him out, or put up with him.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: "A third country might offer a new couch"

"a human can't live like that..." I think that quote was referring to the Ecuadorian diplomats, having been stuck with Assange for 5 years. It was just phrased in such a way that it could be easily misconstrued to apply to their white-haired Human Rights Problem.

0
0
Silver badge

A mere 5 years couch surfing

I know lots of Aussies who can beat that (albeit not the same couch for the whole duration)

9
0

Don't rape

Next time, someone asks you to put a condom, just do it. don't pretend you did.

You will avoid rape charge!

22
7
Silver badge
Stop

Re: Don't rape

Or just don't have sex with them. You always have that choice.

15
2

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't rape

Or just don't have sex with them. You always have that choice.

Not if they do it while you're still asleep, which is one of the two charges levelled against Assange.

1
0

I just had a look at Google Streetview and I count no less than EIGHT cops lurking outside the Ecuadoran embassy in September 2012!! What the hell - is this guy Bin Laden's brother or WHAT?!!

https://goo.gl/maps/Qf2z91JZoUK2

5
2
Bronze badge

You missed the 9th one down the cul-de-sac at the side.

5
0

WOW! Well spotted that man :-D It took me 5 minutes to find him - literally "where's wally". Only the tit on his head gives him away.

3
0

Ok - updating this. I think I am giving you undue credit :P There are TWO cops lurking down the alleyway - can you find the second one?? Making a total of TEN in all.

3
0

no less than EIGHT cops lurking outside the Ecuadoran embassy in September 2012!!

It did make me wonder why they didn't just pay off the doormen at Harrods to keep an eye out (one of the public entrances has line of sight to the Embassy).

Give them a panic button to push if they see Julian - he's hardly an inconspicuous fellow - and he wouldn't get to the end of the street before Police were on top of him. This is Knightsbridge after all, the rozzers aren't going to be far away.

2
0
Silver badge

@John

"is this guy Bin Laden's brother or WHAT?!!"

No, but it's the easiest money those police officers will ever make.

6
0
Silver badge

It's not complicated

"we are searching in a very respectful way with the United Kingdom ... for a solution"

The solution is to show him the door. He will be arrested, his alleged crimes investigated, and then he will be either prosecuted or released depending on the results. That's how the justice system works, both in the UK and Ecuador. The only part of the whole thing lacking in respect is hiding a common criminal for 5 years for no apparent reason.

27
6
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: It's not complicated

He's already definitely guilty of at least one crime in the UK: bail jumping.

You can read the sentencing guidelines here, I suspect he'll get close to the full whack of three months in jail.

Apart from that, I dan't know what else they could charge him with, except possibly wasting police time?

10
0
Silver badge

Re: It's not complicated

Apart from that, I dan't know what else they could charge him with, except possibly wasting police time?

Wasting Police time?

They didn't have to hang around en masse on a London Street for five years - blew the community policing budget probably - and we wonder why there are no 'bobbies on the beat' anymore?

They are all hanging around an embassy..

Police wasting their own time - it's not as if he [Julian] isn't recognisable by at least half the country by now - even if most just think he looks vaguely familiar cause he is not on strictly dancing every week....

I don't want much, just the UK to get it's nose out the US butt, brown nosing, grow some principles England used to be famous for, and a backbone. Very good at thumbing it to Europe, but a voice comes on the phone from Washington and they can't get obsequious quick enough...

6
9
Gold badge

Re: It's not complicated

Cuddles,

In South America this might well be resolved by a mediator.

They recognise the practise of "diplomatic asylum". So when the military coup happens, various members of the deposed government run for friendly embassies. Then if the coup is put down, they're on hand to pop back out and resume governing. But if it succeeds, they hang around there for a bit, until a deal is done and they go into exile.

Military coups haven't been so widespread as they used to be in South America, but this still happens. The idea is that it's a lot better than being strung up from a lamppost, and as you're government might itself get overthrown, there's an incentive to keep that fall-back position open.

However diplomatic asylum isn't recognised in the Vienna Conventions. Which are the international law on diplomacy. And it's not something the Foreign Office holds with. According to my favourite UK ex-ambassador, Charles Crawford, FCO guidelines are to usher such people out of your embassy as fast as possible to avoid massive embarassment to both you and your host country. An ambassador can't be a discrete source of information and communication with between governments when he's personally involved in a noisy public dispute. Especially one that rudely exploits his embassy's diplomatic status to embarrass his host government - and make political trouble for them.

0
0
Silver badge

Entirely self inflicted

Everything that has happened to Assange, including his self imposed stay in an embassy is completely self-inflicted. I don't see that Ecuador, the UK, Sweden, or the USA should have a shred of sympathy for his plight.

32
7
Silver badge
Coat

That'll teach him...

... to stick s̶i̶x̶ two fingers up at the justice system.

1
0
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

I wonder if is this going to be horrible for Trump and uk.gov?

If he IS a Russian agent, if he's arrested, Wikileaks can start dumping kompromat on a daily drip drip drip basis, can't they? Or another "insurance" cache appears just before he leaves, maybe?

My suspicion is Trump might just pardon him for everything beforehand, just in case...

Paris, again, because this needs a "WTF is going on" icon...

0
6

Whats so inhumane

About someone voluntarily remaining under 'house arrest' in a luxury accommodation, for free, with full internet access.

I'm guessing he spends his days watching TV, browsing the internet and playing games - pretty much a dream lifestyle for most teenagers in the UK.

9
2

Re: Whats so inhumane

He might have had better facilities and more space in a Swedish prison.

1
0
Silver badge

hang on a moment...

Time to invite the downvotes.

"...Jeff Sessions said the Trump administration would indeed file and proceed with charges against Assange should he be arrested."

" ...UK authorities have repeatedly said they'll nab Assange if he leaves. And as the UK and USA share an extradition treaty, that's not good news for the white-haired information warrior..."

Are we finally and really admitting that Assanges original stance of "I can't go outside, I'll end up being swiped by the US" is actually, potentially true? That's a bit of a 180 for not only The Reg but for a lot of other commentators on the subject.

*ducks and covers*

20
2
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: hang on a moment...

What utter bo$$0$$*s.

Trolling for downvotes are we? Have another upvote.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: hang on a moment...

Its probably more true now than it ever was - but nowhere near a dead cert.

To be fair not even St Julien could have predicted Trump would get in the White House and WikiLeaks interfering in the US election just stirred everything up again.

Once again his desire for self publicity and gratification gets him in trouble - story of his life - muppet needs a hefty wallop with a clue stick. Unfortunately if he's not careful a good clue sticking will be the least of his problems.

3
0
Gold badge

Re: hang on a moment...

Bernard M. Orwell,

Different El Reg writers have been more or less sympathetic to Assange. So it's not like they've taken an editorial line on him. But Sessions has said that, so they reported it. Not that everything Trump's lot say is actually likely to happen.

There was talk of a secret grand jury being convened under Obama, and also suggestions during the Manning court martial that they were getting evidence on Assange. Doesn't neccessarily mean anything will come of it though.

The prosecution submission alleged that Manning was getting technical help from Assange on how to get the information off the army servers. That I believe would count as espionage. If they could get him, that's anything up to the death sentence. If all they can prove is that Manning handed the leaks to Assange, then Assange is basically covered as a journalist, and is safe.

2
0

Re: hang on a moment...

> Are we finally and really admitting that Assanges original stance of "I can't go outside, I'll end up being swiped by the US" is actually, potentially true? That's a bit of a 180 for not only The Reg but for a lot of other commentators on the subject.

This was my immediate thought when reading the article. There is a conspicuous lack of recognition of this implicit admission, here and elsewhere.

3
0

Re: hang on a moment...

Well, that is the case now Donald's in charge. Had he just faced the Swedish investigators in the first place, he would most likely have had no conviction. If he had been convicted, the sentence would probably have been less than two years - in a comfy Swedish prison. He could have been out when Obama was still in charge - and that administration really wasn't interested in him.

1
2
Joke

Poor living standards...

A person cannot live forever in these conditions...

So the Ecuadorian Embassy is one of the less comfortable Knightsbridge accommodations then?

7
0

I do wonder if he could just leave unhindered. I believe the UK were at one point on the record as having said "Mr Assange is free to leave at any time" or something similar.

So he leaves, gets driven to a private airport, and off he goes. And the UK will turn a blind eye because they don't really want him here either...

1
2
Silver badge
Happy

Free to leave ...

"I do wonder if he could just leave unhindered. I believe the UK were at one point on the record as having said "Mr Assange is free to leave at any time" or something similar."

Of course he's free to leave. Whenever he wants. (Unless the relevant embassy want paying for a new sofa first ...)

And the English plod are free to nab him when he does.

10
0
Silver badge

The UK is being entirely honest here - no one in the police is stopping Assange from leaving the embassy.

What they are not saying is that he will be immediately arrested for the crime of jumping bail.

10
0

No they are very specifically saying that, and have been clear about it since day one

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said that ...

"Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012," a statement said.

"The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy."http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/julian-assange-arrest-leave-ecuador-embassy-metropolitan-police-london-wikileaks-sweden-drop-a7744231.html

4
0
Silver badge

"From a human point of view, [it] is not sustainable,"

Indeed, being in such proximity to such a massive twat for such a long time is criminal.

Save the Ecuadorian people ! Throw the twat out !

9
6
Silver badge
Go

Simple answer.

Have him plead guilty to bail jumping via letter from the Ecuador Embassy.

Have the judge give him whatever custodial sentence, but state he has spent more time confined in the Ecuador Embassy so has "served his time".

Immediately deport him to his home country of Australia.

Leave it up to the Australians to decide if they'll permit his extradition to the USA or Sweden.

10
3
Bronze badge

But he hasn't been confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy. He has been there voluntarily. You can take in to account time served in pre-trial custody but you can't (and wouldn't want to) take in to account time on the run (which is what he currently is). If you did that, it would encourage people to jump bail which is precisely the opposite of the point of the laws around bail.

Maintaining respect for the law around bail is far more important than the fate of this one guy.

10
3

Maintaining respect for the law around bail is far more important than the fate of this one guy.

As true as this is, most people who have skipped bail in the UK are UK citizens.

In the case of Assange, enter a guilty plea in absentia, judge deems his time in the Embassy to be equivalent to house arrest, and he is immediately deported to Australia with no prospect of re-entry to the UK. Deportation could be considered adequate punishment and would certainly be the fiscally responsible thing to do for the UK taxpayer.

It doesn't undermine the 99% of other bail cases where deportation is not an option.

6
0
Gold badge

Fuck that. Why should Assange get special treatment?

It's also not legal. The Foreign Office do not have the power to tell the police who to arrest, or not to - and nor do they have the power to tell the courts to issue a particular judgement.

Not that "quiet words" can't be had - but why waste political capital on this. He can just sit there and rot, until he comes to his senses, or he's waited out the Swedish statue of limitations. Particularly as it sets a bad precedent.

On the flipside, not only can the FCO not tell the police what to do. But they also don't have to pay for police budgets.

It appears that Blair's governmet did illegally give letters of assurance to certain IRA people that they wouldn't be prosecuted. Which we know about because one bloke used his a couple of years ago, even though it had been given to him in error. However that was done in the cause of peace in Northern Ireland - which is important. Julian Assange is not.

4
3

"Have him plead guilty to bail jumping via letter from the Ecuador Embassy."

The justice system doesn't work like that. The court dictates to the accused, not the other way around.

3
0

I suspect procedurally that's not possible, he's been in front of a judge and promised to appear when summonsed and then basically raised two fingers to the judge. Judges tend not to take that sort of action lightly as the people who put up his bail found out when they put forward the, quite possibly honest, defence that they had no idea that Assange was going to drop them in the shit. there's no judge going to set up a court hearing on a bail jumper and then not have the satisfaction of having the jumper stood in the dock whilst they tear strips off them.

2
0
Bronze badge

Not sure what could be negotiated.

In most similar cases, exile or death of the fugitive seem to have been the means of resolution to the situation.

Many organisations would not want either given his associations, both known and alleged, with various organisations.

Possibly the most likely outcomes are one of forced eviction by Ecuador, surrender to UK authorities due external constraints (engineered or otherwise), or ill health requiring hospitalisation.

2
0
Gold badge

In South America this is standard practise. El Presidente runs to a friendly embassy during coup. Claims diplomatic asylum, and avoids getting strung up by the mob. The new regime surround the embassy and demand his release for trial. A month later an emissary from the Pope turns up, and quietly negotiates a swift exit to exile in a third country on a private plane.

I don't think many countries outside South America practise diplomatic asylum though. It's not in the Vienna Conventions, so isn't covered by international law.

0
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018