Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has officially been given political asylum in Ecuador. The announcement comes several weeks after Assange entered the regions embassy in Britain and requested political asylum over fears he would be eventually executed in the United States.
Speaking of his country’s decision Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said:
“We can state that there is a risk that he will be persecuted politically.”
Patino than reaffirmed Assange’s argument that should he be handed over to Sweden on trumped up sexual conduct charges he would likely be extradited to the United States where he would face espionage claims, charges that could lead to the death penalty.
Assange has long maintained that the United States have already indicted him in private and therefore a fair trial would not be possible.
Earlier this week, officials in Britain threatened to storm Ecuador’s embassy and take Assange back into custody after he broke his probation by “leaving” Britain for sovereign territory. Pitino said of the threat that “Ecuador is not a British colony” and that he hopes “friendship with the United Kingdom will remain intact.”
The political asylum offered by Ecuador will likely be symbolic as British authorities have promised to arrest Julian Assange immediately after he attempts to leave the Ecuador embassy to begin his new life in a non-extraditing country.
One official tells Reuters:
“It is too early to say when or if Britain will revoke the Ecuadorean embassy’s diplomatic status.”
Julian Assange shares strong ties to Ecuador as they were the first country given full access to US government documents courtesy of Assange’s Wikileaks platform.