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.
The Obama administration on Tuesday sided against Google and said the U.S. Supreme Court should not hear the company's appeal in a case against Oracle with wide implications for the technology industry.
Wildfire in Alberta's oilsands have forced the evacuation of hundreds of people
The US justice department will bring corruption charged against FIFA officials.
An Indonesian court has detailed the appeal of a French convict on death row.
The White House has defended defense chief Ash Carter assessment saying his comments similar to those on the ground in Ramadi
US President Barack Obama has said that NATO and its allies will be working to confront ISIL
Mexico and Brazil have signed trade agreements that are expected to bring in $20B in bilateral trade by 2025
A Nigerian senator under house arrested and wanted in the US on drug related charges has had a court issued order for anti-drug agents to vacate his property.
Approximately 200,000 refugees from Nigeria have been displaced into neighbouring African countries.
Former head of Brazil's Petrobras has been sentenced for money laundering in connection with a luxury apartment in Rio de Janeiro
The Gaza strip has been hit by the Israeli military after Israel said the Israeli port of Ashdod was hit by rockets.
The case concerns a patent held by Commil USA LLC on a way to improve the implementation of a wireless network where multiple access points are needed.
East African leaders will meet on Sunday at a special summit to discuss the crisis in Burundi
Net profit last year rebounded to 69.3 million euros ($76.15 million) from 2.9 million the year before
Ethiopia's election polls have been passed as credible, peaceful and calm as described by the AU observation commission
S.Africa to release "Marikana massacre" report next month