News / Europe

Assange Supporters Hold 24-Hour 'Vigil' Outside Ecuador Embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange steps onto the balcony before speaking to the media outside the Ecuador embassy in west London, August 19, 2012.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange steps onto the balcony before speaking to the media outside the Ecuador embassy in west London, August 19, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Selah Hennessy
LONDON — Foreign ministers from Latin America meet in Washington Friday to discuss Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks who has been living inside Ecuador’s London Embassy for over two months. Ecuador has granted Assange asylum but Britain has made it clear that the founder of Wikileaks will be arrested if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy.

Last week Britain made a written warning to Ecuador, saying it could invoke a 1987 act to arrest Assange inside the embassy. Ecuador said it saw that letter as a “threat,” which Britain has denied.

But the situation has created diplomatic tension between Britain and Ecuador and infuriated Assange supporters.

Across the street from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, protesters are holding what they call a “vigil” - they say it is a 24-hour watch in order to ensure that Assange is not forcibly removed from the embassy by British police.

One protester, who declined to give his name, spoke to VOA. “It’s a cause of deep concern that people have to seek extradition from the United Kingdom and it’s very much Mr. Assange’s right to do so and it’s the Ecuadorians’ authority to be able to grant that,” he said.

Assange entered Ecuador’s embassy in London more than two months ago requesting asylum. His aim was to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about rape and molestation claims, which he denies.

He says he believes his extradition to Sweden would lead to further extradition to the United States to face charges related to Wikileaks, an organization that has released hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. cables.

Anand Doobay is an extradition lawyer at Peters & Peters Solicitors in London. He described the circumstances under which British police might enter a foreign embassy.

“The UK Legislation says well look if you use the embassy for an unpermitted reason - and to take an extreme example, let’s say that there is somebody in the embassy who has a gun and is just shooting people from the embassy, obviously that is not a permitted reason so the act then allows the UK to say, we are ceasing to recognize you as an embassy because you are doing something that is not allowed under international law and we are going to enter the embassy,” said the lawyer.

He says it would be an “extreme thing to do.” He says Britain would only be able to do it if it believed it was making a decision in accordance with international law.

“I think that it is very unlikely that the UK Would choose to go down that route because it is very aware that its own embassies need to be secure around the world and it wouldn’t want other countries, or rather people or protesters, to feel that they could invade its embassies without any redress,” said Doobay.

Officials in Ecuador have said Assange can stay in the embassy for as long as he wants. Even, they say, for “two centuries” if necessary.

You May Like

Multimedia Parents of Disaster Ferry Passengers Lash Out at Authorities

Twenty-nine bodies recovered from water but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

US congressional delegation initiates $84 million Agent Orange cleanup project More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid