News / Europe

    Ecuador Grants Asylum to Assange

    British police stand outside Ecuador's embassy, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is seeking asylum, London, August 16, 2012.
    British police stand outside Ecuador's embassy, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is seeking asylum, London, August 16, 2012.
    VOA News
    Ecuador has granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, intensifying a political dispute involving Ecuador, Britain and Sweden.

    Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino announced the decision Thursday in Quito, saying Assange's personal security was at risk. He said Assange would not receive a fair trial if he is eventually extradited to the U.S.

    Key Dates in WikiLeaks

    2006: Set up by a group of people, including Australian Julian Assange
    2008: Publishes Sarah Palin hacked emails
    2009: Posts thousands of text messages from U.S. emergency workers and military personnel from September 11, 2001
    2010: Releases hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. military documents and diplomatic cables
    2011: Assange appeals extradition from Britain to Sweden on sex crime charges
    2012: British court upholds extradition of Assange, who takes refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London.  Ecuador grants him asylum in August
    Britain Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain will not give Assange safe passage out of Britain and is determined to extradite him to Sweden.

    Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning in connection with sexual assault allegations. He has denied those accusations.

    Following the decision, Sweden summoned Ecuador's Stockholm-based ambassador. A Swedish government spokesman said it is "unacceptable" that Ecuador is trying to halt Sweden's judicial process.

    One of Assange's lawyers urged a Swedish prosecutor to come to London to interrogate the WikiLeaks founder, saying it is no longer possible to question him in Sweden because he has been granted asylum.

    Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London nearly two months ago after losing a legal battle to fight extradition to Sweden.

    Outside the Ecuadorian embassy Thursday, British police tussled with protesters chanting slogans in support of Assange. At least three protesters were arrested.

    Ecuadorian officials have accused Britain of threatening to storm Ecuador's embassy to arrest Assange. Britain has warned of using a law that would allow it to revoke the embassy's diplomatic status.

    Assange fears Sweden could send him to the United States to face possible charges related to the 2010 release of hundreds of thousands of classified documents, including diplomatic cables held by the U.S. State Department about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.


    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Al Dorman from: Baltimore
    August 17, 2012 11:33 AM
    We all need to celebrate this brave decision by doing more tourism in Ecuador!

    by: Fred from: NY
    August 16, 2012 12:50 PM
    This seems to be a cat and mouse game. The story so far is that an organization exposes possible corruption, behind the scene deals, and pretty much makes a few world powers irate. Then without fail we have two people claiming a sexual abuse occurred. Now was this an attempt to discredit the aforementioned organization, probably. Now we have the leader of the organization trying to avoid the said world powers he made irate. It seems for him the best option was to go to a country that really doesn’t like world powers’ actions or politics. It is a smart move of the mouse, but I am sure the cat will eventually win.

    We as the general public do not know the true story of events from both sides of this case. The leader of the organization could have sexually abused the parties involved. He could have released the information about the world powers for other reason then to make information open to the public. Or this could be a case, that if you are whistleblower about a government you better make sure you have an exit strategy. In any event, if you are for or against either party this would make a great movie.

    by: dubkemps
    August 16, 2012 11:26 AM
    Democracy Now! reports on the latest in Assange's bid for asylum, speaking with Michael Ratner, an attorney on Assange's legal team, and several of his supporters. http://www.democracynow.org/topics/julian_assange

    by: Chris from: New York
    August 16, 2012 10:30 AM
    I sincerely hope Mr. Assange is able to escape England and ultimately live in moderate safety in Ecuador.

    Let's follow the path to it's source - it is not he who threatens the security of other countries, it is those who's corruption and hypocrisy he exposes who do. That Mr. Assange has exposed these people for who they are, at grave expense to his own safety, makes him a hero in my book.

    Our country would be far better served by throwing most of our corrupt leaders in prison than Julian Assange or Bradley Manning.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora