Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018
QUITO

Assange asylum decision causes Quito-London diplomatic spat

English
© ANSA

(ANSA) - Quito, August 17 - Ecuador's decision to grant
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange political asylum has created a
diplomatic tussle between the Latin American country and the UK.
After a verbal spat between the UK foreign office, which
Thursday said it would proceed with the planned extradition of
Assange to Sweden, where he faces rape charges, and Ecuador's
foreign minister, which accused Britain of using colonial
arrogance, the Daily Mail said Cameron - on vacation in Spain -
called Foreign Secretary William Hague and asked him to keep
calm and tone down statements.
Meanwhile Friday Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa
defended his country's decision to offer Assange asylum on the
basis that he might end up in the United States and possibly
face the death penalty.
Repeating remarks Thursday by his foreign minister, Ricardo
Patino, Correa explained that Sweden - the country to which
Britain was to extradite the Wikileaks founder - would not offer
guarantees that it would not subsequently extradite Assange to
the US.
"The problem is that there are no guarantees in the case he
leaves the Embassy and goes to Sweden, that he will then not be
extradited to a third country, and in this case his life or his
freedom could be in danger for the rest of his life. For this
reason Ecaudor decided to grant him political asylum," Correa
said Friday in the town of Loja, in Peru.
On Thursday Patino said that if Assange were to end up in
the US, where the government accuses him of having leaked
sensitive military and diplomatic documents, he could face life
in prison and, possibly, the death penalty.
Assange petitioned Ecuador for asylum in June.
He is seeking to avoid being sent to Sweden over claims of
rape and sexual molestation, and said he fears that if
extradited, Swedish authorities could eventually hand him over
to the United States.
Keeping an eye on the "Scarlet Pimpernel", as Assange has
been nicknamed, is already costing the UK government up to
£50,000 per day, the Daily Mail reports, as special agents have
been placed to observe the embassy and make sure Assange doesn't
manage to slip out.
The Wikileaks founder might be in for a long stay.
According to various British legal experts cited in local
reports the asylum proceedings could last several months or even
years.

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