According to Renata Avila, a senior digital rights advisor for the World Wide Web Foundation, WikiLeaks-associated Guatemalan human rights lawyer, and digital rights advocate, it is “outrageous how Ecuadorian authorities completely ignore international law” and are acting as the UK’s accomplices. The speaker notes that the UK is in a state of real collapse, being a country that “cannot deal with its own mess”, thereby “harming democracy” not solely in Europe, but around the world by nabbing a journalist in ignorance of “the sacred human right of asylum”.
It’s completely unpresented that Western nations are behaving basically like Banana Republics”, Ms Avila pointed out, adding:
“As it was characterized by President Rafael Correa, as a national that has recovered the dignity and that was embracing human rights, is opening the door for the UK authorities to arrest a journalist. It’s terrible, really”.
Speaking about the expectations, the commenter said she expects the general public to realise the seriousness of the issue – not only “continued arbitrary detention, but now [the] arrest of one of the few journalists” that has the power to resist censorship and pressure stand up against the US government, showing “the facts of horrendous crimes against humanity, still impunity, perpetrated by the US government”.
'Did not Leak Anything, Just like The Guardian'
WikiLeaks-associated human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has echoed the Guatemalan analyst’s stance on Assange’s arrest today:
“The decision of the Ecuadorean government to hand over Assange to the UK police is a clear violation of his Ecuadorian citizenship and asylum rights. Ecuador has failed in its duty to protect its citizen”.
He expressed certainty that the Ecuadorian authorities’ move is putting him at risk of extradition to the US, and hence charges that could see him jailed for over 30 years. “A secret grand jury has been convened to prepare an indictment against Assange and key Trump officials have said that prosecuting Assange is a priority”, Tatchell noted.
He has drawn a parallel between Assange and, for instance, The Guardian and New York Times, both of which also published Chelsea Manning’s leaks, but did not face any charges over it.
“Assange did not leak anything. He published the leaks of Chelsea Manning, as did The Guardian and New York Times. Why is he being singled out?” Tatchell remarked, adding that bearing in mind that what he published was hard evidence of American war crimes, “he is a hero, not a criminal”, so that his extradition to the US is “not in the public interest”.
“The British government should refuse to do the bidding of the Trump administration. It should give public assurances that Assange will not be handed over the US authorities", said Mr Tatchell.
'Asylum May Be Received Only in Moscow'
Israel Shamir, a journalist who collaborated with WikiLeaks, depicted the news as “sudden, baffling, sad, bitter” and even “tragic”.
“It has been brought up for seven years now, and I hoped the move could be avoided”, Shamir shared, adding that the tragic news surely has to do with the WikiLeaks founder’s political activity.
“The UK decided to press it all up till the end, but the US is also behind this; along with Ecuador, which is suffering from a great deal of domestic issues, and where a really 'bad' president, who sued his predecessor Rafael Correa who actually allowed the embassy to be used as asylum”, Shamir noted.
The incident is yet another “reminder” for the whole world that “an asylum may be received only in Moscow”, the commenter summed up, admitting, though, that “there are drawbacks in Moscow as well, which seemed once to be more tiresome”.
“We never hear from Snowden, don’t see him, he has practically disappeared from the public eye”, he concluded.
Opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the speakers and do not reflect Sputnik's position.