Ecuador, UK discuss Assange extradition to Sweden
The Ecuadorian government has held talks with the British Labour party to try to strike a deal to send Assange to Sweden to end the political impasse, which has seen the Australian whistleblower holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy since claiming asylum in June last year.
The Ecuadorians are setting their sights on a change of government after the 2015 UK election, having “lost all faith” in coming to an agreement with the current coalition.
Assange faces rape allegations in Sweden, but has refused to be extradited there for questioning unless he receives assurances that he will not then be re-extradited to the US, where he reportedly faces trial for espionage over his work with WikiLeaks.
Assange says he would travel to Sweden to prove his innocence if the US threat were lifted, but British Home Secretary Theresa May has rejected repeated calls to affirm she would refuse a US extradition request. Under Swedish law, Assange can only be formally charged in Sweden after being questioned by police first.
Any deal with Labour would leave Assange with little choice but to surrender himself to Swedish authorities.
In the coming months the British authorities can give up their plans for the extradition of Julian Assange of WikiLeaks to Sweden, where he is accused of raping two women. This means that the world famous journalist and Internet rebel, who has been hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June of last year, will be set “free”.
The recent statements made by Ricardo Patino, Ecuador's Minister of Foreign Affairs, leads one to such a conclusion. According to him, after the reelection for the third term of president Rafael Correa, «Great Britain realized that for the next four years Ecuador's position on Assange would not change». Given that the minister expressed his hope that already this year the sides would come to an agreement regarding the Australian's further destiny.
Not only the firm position of Ecuadorian leader can push the British towards the decision to stop prosecuting Assange. One must recall the reason's for the WikiLeaks' founder's «voluntary confinement». According to Assange, he chose such a destiny not due to what he believes to be «ridiculous» accusations of the Swedish side. The real danger for the journalist comes from the USA, where he can be brought from Stockholm. The alleged rape was Pentagon's response to the published secret materials about the military actions of the Americans in Iraq, says Assange. And for such «misbehavior» Washington punishes very strictly, up to the capital punishment.
However, strange as it appears, the salvation for the Australian can also come from across the ocean. These days in the US the court hearings on the case of the US soldier Bradley Manning, accused of releasing a great deal of secret documents to WikiLeaks, are coming to an end. Of all the documents he handed over, the most scandalous was the video, in which the US soldiers shoot Iraqi civilians. That video cause a massive reaction in the US and all over the world, while Manning's personality according to the British newspaper The Independent became «the symbol of American hypocrisy». Julian Assange hopes that this court trials would help open the eyes of the world community as far as the role of the US in today's world is concerned and would force many people to view the situation around the founder of WikiLeaks differently:
«Manning's trial is a public beating of all those who is trying to open people's eyes. This is also proved by the degrading circumstances of keeping him under arrest. Not one single prisoner in the US has spent so much time in jail before the verdict», says Assange recalling that Manning was arrested back in 2010.
Depending on what Manning's verdict will be - the judge will announce the verdict on March 15 – Assange threatens to publish a new portion of documents revealing the US military atrocities. And in that case he will act as a prosecutor supported by the entire world community.