World Bulletin / News Desk
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said on Wednesday that Britain's failure to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet more than a decade ago means it has no right to lecture others over the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Correa has granted asylum to Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London for more than two months seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about rape and sexual assault allegations.
The South American nation's socialist leader says he shares the former computer hacker's fears that he could be sent from Sweden to the United States to face charges over WikiLeak's publication in 2010 of thousands of secret U.S. cables.
U.S. and European government sources say that the United States has issued no criminal charges against Assange and that Washington has launched no attempt to extradite him.
Britain says it is determined to fulfill a legal obligation to send Assange to Sweden. But Correa said London had made its own rules in the past -- specifically, by not extraditing Pinochet, who was charged with multiple human rights violations.
"Pinochet was not extradited for humanitarian reasons, when there were dozens of Europeans and thousands of Latin Americans who were murdered, and tens of thousands of people were tortured during the Pinochet dictatorship," he told reporters in Quito.
Pinochet was arrested by British police at a hospital in London in 1998 after Spain demanded his extradition for alleged torture and murder, including of Spanish citizens, during his 1973-1990 rule.
The British government decided in 2000 that the frail Pinochet was unfit to stand trial and free to fly home. He died six years later in Santiago, Chile, aged 91.
"If Pinochet was not extradited for humanitarian reasons then it's clear that they can take the decision not to extradite Mr. Julian Assange," Correa said.
"WE DON'T BOW TO PRESSURE"
Correa is part of a leftist alliance of Latin American leaders that includes Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales. They frequently criticize the U.S. "empire".
The Ecuadorean government remains angry at a veiled threat by Britain to enter its embassy and arrest Assange. On Tuesday Correa denounced it as "rude, impertinent and unacceptable."
But on Wednesday he repeated that Ecuador was ready to negotiate over the 41-year-old Australian's fate. Ecuador's government wants Assange to receive written assurances that he would not be extradited from Sweden to a third country.
"We have always been open to dialogue and we are still open to dialogue," the president said.
But he criticized the Swedish government for declining an offer by Ecuador to make Assange available for questioning inside the embassy. He also said he doubted the seriousness of his alleged crimes.
"The alleged sexual offences are not considered crimes in Latin America, or in 95 percent of the world," Correa said.
The U.S.-trained economist seldom shies away from a fight, be it with the Roman Catholic Church, international bondholders or media bosses, whom he says are corrupt and manipulative.
He has won broad support for his position on Assange from other South American governments, framing the embassy saga as a struggle between his small country and "imperialist" powers.
"We cannot ignore the fact that some countries have a lot of weight," Correa said. "But something has changed: Latin America no longer has patrons. We don't bow to pressure. We will not accept neo-colonialism, wherever it may come from."
The press office of the Ministry of Defense says that the Minister wants the soldiers to be punished as never before, to avoid having these acts in the future.
Iraqi forces launched a massive operation to recapture Mosul from the ISIL group 100 days ago and have ousted the extremists from all the central neighbourhoods of east Mosul.
Parliament's approval needed to trigger Britain's EU exit negotiations: Supreme Court
Iraqi authorities typically blame such attacks on ISIL terrorist group
Mattis "emphasized the United States' unshakeable commitment to NATO" in his call with British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said in a statement.
On October 17, tens of thousands of Iraqi forces launched an offensive -- Iraq's largest military operation in years -- to retake the country's second city from ISIL.
Cyprus, home to about a million inhabitants, has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.
The departure of the frail leader could complicate negotiations over the timetable for a New Year's Eve deal under which Kabila will stay in office before new elections are held in late 2017.
To make ends meet, women have had to find new sources of income.
The Indonesian peacekeepers have not been allowed leave Darfur pending the outcome of the UN investigation. An Indonesian police team will be sent to the region to provide assistance.
Fatoumata Tambajang Jallow is former UN diplomat who has served former President Yahya Jammeh as a health minister.
University of East Anglia also to offer discounted tuition fees for students with Education Ministry scholarships
Satellite collars meant to avoid incidents like last year's killing of 13-year-old lion who wandered out of park
Cease-fire focus on first day of Syria peace talks
US seeks to safeguard American jobs by renegotiating trade deals