Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 23:09 PM EDT, 19 June 2012
LONDON, England – Today, WikiLeak’s founder, Julian Assange, 40, escaped extradition to Sweden by fleeing to the Ecuadorean embassy in London. On 15 June 2012 Assange lost all appeals in U.K. against extradition to Sweden to face questioning in two cases of alleged rape and sexual assault.
The British government is stunned and embarrassed by the lapse in security which enabled Assange to remain in London just beyond the reach of its police. Prior to loss of his appeals, Assange spent a year and a half under house arrest without being charged. Fortunately for Assange, he spent this confinement at the luxurious country estate of a wealthy supporter.
Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said his country would weigh the asylum request in light of the belief by many that the sex crime accusations were manufactured to discredit Assange with the added benefit of impugning the credibility of WikiLeaks.
Conspiracy theorist believe that Assange’s 18-month ordeal was instigated by the U.S. in retaliation for the 2010, WikiLeak’s release of secret video footage and thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables, many of them about Iraq and Afghanistan, in the largest leak of classified documents in U.S. history.
Following the release, the now defunct Wikileak was systematically undermined when sources refused to provide the organization with newsworthy leaks and credit card companies instituted a blockade that staunched donations which were the life blood of the organization. The final straw was the revelation by two former female employees of sexual abuse by Assange.
As a strong proponent of women’s rights, we often feature stories of women who have been physically or emotionally abused, and rape is one of the most heinous expressions of brute power perpetrated by one human being against another. Unfortunately, the merits of these women’s accusations are tainted by the perception that they may have been used as pawns in an international campaign to silence one of the few remaining advocates of freedom of speech and access to information.
On 19 June 2012, the Ecuadorean Embassy updated their website with the following statement. “While the department assesses Mr. Assange’s application, Mr. Assange will remain at the embassy, under the protection of the Ecuadorean Government. The decision to consider Mr. Assange’s application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the Government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden.” (Source: Ecuador Embassy UK)
Meanwhile, Assange remains safely ensconced in the Ecuadorean Embassy while Patino assesses the merit of his asylum request and the geopolitical impact. Preexisting tensions between the government of Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s leftist and ardently anti-Washington president and the U.S. could permanently rupture should they choose to grant permanent asylum to Assange.Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report
- Ecuador says WikiLeakers founder Assange is seeking asylum (edition.cnn.com)
- Ecuador says WikiLeaks’ Assange seeks asylum – Reuters (reuters.com)
- Julian Assange Seeks Asylum at Ecuador’s U.K. Embassy [UPDATED] (mashable.com)
- Assange asks Ecuador for asylum (salon.com)
- Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder seeks political asylum from Ecuador – Telegraph.co.uk (telegraph.co.uk)