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.
Militants extort around $500 from civilians who wish to escape Hawija
A car bomb blew up at the entrance of a restaurant in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, killing two people.
Oil-price fall, foreign-currency shortage to blame for stagnant growth, president tells independence day rally
Turkish officers will train over 10,000 Somali National Army soldiers to fight al-Shabaab terror group
Donald J. Trump unleashed a slashing new attack on Hillary Clinton over Bill Clinton’s past scandals
Atambayev, 60, was transferred to Russia just over a week ago after being hospitalised with chest pains in Turkey during a stop-off on the way to the United Nations General Assembly.
The city has agreed to spend more than $6 million to buy cops 1,000 body cameras
Pedro Sanchez is facing a party vote that may both affect his future and help end the country's political deadlock.
A source close to Deutsche Bank has said that a fine relating to the 2008 financial crises has been reduced from $14bn to $5.4bn
Government says several multinational oil companies failed to properly declare $12.7 billion in crude exports to U.S.
The Human Rights Council have adopted four resolutions that included creating a commission of inquiry to conduct a thorough investigation into human rights violations and abuses in Burundi since April 2015
Sweden has confirmed it will become the next country to join the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence (STRATCOMCOE) which is based in Riga
Erdogan's historic visit in 2011 was turning point in evolution of security and stability in Somalia, says Mohamud
United Nations assistant secretary general Toby Lanzer said the suffering in northeast Nigeria and surrounding areas was the worst he had ever witnessed.
United Party for National Development MPs say President Edgar Lungu is not legitimate