World Bulletin / News Desk
Ecuador has granted political asylum to WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said on Thursday, a day after the British government threatened to storm the Ecuadorean embassy in London to arrest Assange.
Britain has said it is determined to extradite the former computer hacker, who enraged Washington in 2010 when his WikiLeaks website published secret U.S. diplomatic cables, to Sweden where he has been accused of rape and sexual assault.
"Ecuador has decided to grant political asylum to Julian Assange following the request sent to the President," Patino told a press conference in Quito.
He argued that Assange's personal security was at risk, extradition to a third country without proper guarantees was probable, and legal evidence showed he would not have a fair trial if eventually transferred to the United States.
"This is a sovereign decision protected by international law. It makes no sense to surmise that this implies a breaking of relations (with Britain)," Patino added.
Even with asylum granted, Assange has little chance of leaving the Ecuadorean embassy in London without being arrested.
There has been speculation he could travel to an airport in a diplomatic car, be smuggled out in a diplomatic bag, or even be appointed an Ecuadorean diplomat to give him immunity.
But lawyers and diplomats see those scenarios as practically unworkable.
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa is a self-declared enemy of "corrupt" media and U.S. "imperialism," and part of a left-leaning block of South American leaders.
He apparently hit it off with Assange during a TV interview the Australian did with him in May. Correa joked then with Assange that he had joined "the club of the persecuted".
Foreign minister Patino called the U.K. government's threat to enter the embassy "brutal," and acknowledged the only way Assange could travel to Ecuador would be if Britain grants him a safe pass to travel to an airport.
Around 2,500 women still detained or missing, the Syrian Network for Human Rights says.
Around 80 protesters arrested for assaulting police, illegal assembly, disobeying injunction, and obstructing police work.
Greek-Cypriot and Turkish Republic of NorthernCyprus should be allowed to develop their relationship, says British former Foreign Secretary
Nusra Front, which is fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, killed and captured a number of Lebanese soldiers – including Shiite troops – in Lebanon's border town of Arsal
Streets of Sarajevo decorated with flags as people celebrate in Bosnian capital
Kenyan police used teargas to disperse demonstrators shouting "President, Stop the killings!" outside President Uhuru Kenyatta's offices
Turkey should impose sanctions on Russia and follow the example of European countries, Crimean Tatar leader and member of Ukraine’s parliament has said.
Critics call it discriminatory and anti-democratic, as legislation widens cracks in Israel's governing coalition
ISIL fighters were present in four of Baiji's 12 neighbourhoods, as well as areas on the perimeter of the sprawling refinery complex
A senior Russian official said Ukraine's president's referendum plans on NATO membership would increase regional tensions.
The Palestinian ambassador to Cairo met with protesters and said contacts were underway with Egyptian authorities to solve the problem
At least 270 Palestinian women were killed during this summer's devastating Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian government figures.
Two explosions by suspected suicide bombers hit Maiduguri in Nigeria's northeast
The Palestine Prisoners' Center for Studies has said that Israeli prison authorities do not provide adequate shelter from rain and cold weather inside prison facilities
France has been under pressure for months from its Western allies to scrap the 1.2 billion euro ($1.58 billion) contract.
At least a dozen buildings were set on fire in Ferguson, Missouri, most of them destroyed, in a wave of civil unrest following a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in August