News / Europe

Ecuador: UK Violating Human Rights of WikiLeaks' Assange

This film publicity image released by Focus World shows Julian Assange in a scene from the documentary, "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks."
This film publicity image released by Focus World shows Julian Assange in a scene from the documentary, "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks."
Reuters
Ecuador's foreign minister on Tuesday accused the British government of trampling on the human rights of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by refusing to allow him to travel to Ecuador, which granted him political asylum almost a year ago.
 
Assange, 41, took refuge in Ecuador's tiny embassy in London last June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sex assault and rape allegations. He denies the allegations.
 
Ecuador's socialist president, Rafael Correa, angered the U.K. by granting Assange asylum in August on concerns that the former computer hacker might be further extradited from Sweden to the United States. Ecuador's government late last year said the Australian citizen was suffering from lung problems.
 
“By not granting him safe passage they are violating the human rights of a citizen, and every day that passes the effects of that violation hurt the person more and more,” Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told Reuters in an interview. “It's a whole year that this gentleman has spent without feeling the sun and that's really serious ... because this decision has been taken by a state that says it protects human rights.”
 
Ecuador argues that Assange's deportation to Sweden is part of a scheme by the U.S. government to have the former computer hacker extradited to American soil so that he can face charges over WikiLeaks' release of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables.
 
U.S. and European government sources say the United States has issued no criminal charges against him, nor launched any attempts to extradite Assange.
 
Assange, whose platinum hair and high-flying friends made him a household name around the world, is said to be living a cramped life inside the modest diplomatic mission. He eats mostly take-out food and uses a treadmill to burn off energy and a vitamin D lamp to make up for the lack of sunlight.
 
Patino said the Ecuadorean government is preparing a document in which it will argue that Britain is legally “obliged” to give Assange permission to leave the embassy and travel to South America.
 
He said that talks with the British government over Assange's fate continue and that he hopes to discuss the issue with British Foreign Minister William Hague in “a matter of weeks or months.”
 
Assange said last year he expected to wait six months to a year for a deal that would allow him to leave the embassy.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid