Ecuador grants asylum to Assange
Ecuador has granted asylum to Julian Assange. At a press conference in Quito Thursday, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said they had received no assurances from Sweden, where Assange is wanted for questioning, nor from the USA. Assange fears he will be extradited there if detained in Sweden. But Sweden rejects the accusations.
Patiño listed a series of reasons why the WikiLeaks founder would be allowed to receive refugee in Ecuador, before announcing the decision.
Assange has been inside Ecuador’s embassy in London since the UK Supreme Court ordered that he be extradited to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about sex crime allegations.
Addressing staff at the Ecuadorian embassy, Julian Assange said:
"It is a significant victory for myself, and my people. Things will probably get more stressful now", reports news agency AFP.
In response, Sweden has rejected Ecuador's claim that Assange would not have a fair trial as a reason for granting him political asylum.
"Our firm legal and constitutional system guarantees the rights of each and everyone. We firmly reject any accusations to the contrary," Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on his Twitter account.
However, the problem remains how Assange is to get to Ecuador.
The Metropolitan Police have said they will detain the fugitive as soon as he leaves the sanctuary of the embassy.
Britain has also indicated that under current legislation it has the right to lift the embassy’s diplomatic status, a suggestion that Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino strongly objected to, saying that Britain was threatening to “storm” the mission and warned that the age of colonization is over.