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Swedish authorities turn down offer to question Assange in Ecuadorian embassy

Thursday, August 2nd 2012 - 06:40 UTC
Full article 45 comments
Assange will remain holed in the Ecuador embassy in London until at least after the Games Assange will remain holed in the Ecuador embassy in London until at least after the Games

Ecuador wants to prevent Julian Assange's extradition to Sweden because it is disappointed that the Scandinavian country has turned down an offer to question the WikiLeaks founder in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, a minister said on Wednesday.

Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's Embassy in London for six weeks as he awaits a decision on his asylum request by the leftist government of Rafael Correa.

The Australian anti-secrecy campaigner, who angered Washington in 2010 when his WikiLeaks website published secret US diplomatic cables, is wanted for questioning in Sweden over sex crime allegations. He fears that if he is sent to Sweden he could be bundled off to the United States.

Ecuador has long said that it will take as long as needed to make a thorough analysis of Assange's asylum request before making a decision. Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño on Monday vowed to wait until the end of the London Olympic Games on Aug. 12 to announce a decision.

He said Ecuador had invited Swedish authorities to question Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, which could give the former computer hacker a chance to avoid extradition to Sweden.

But following a meeting with Correa on Wednesday Patiño said he had “unofficially” learned that Sweden had turned down the offer. He said he was disappointed about Sweden's decision because it “makes the situation more complicated.”

“This makes it more difficult for us to make a decision that would mean that Mr. Assange would have to travel to Sweden,” Patiño told reporters outside the presidential palace.

Patiño did not say if Ecuador is now more inclined to grant political asylum to Assange, but said his country's decision will seek to protect Assange's life and his right to freedom.

“This will be a factor to consider in the decision we have to make. Had we had a positive answer from the Swedish government then we would be considering taking a different kind of decision,” Patiño said.

Sweden's foreign ministry declined to comment, but a Swedish prosecution authority spokesman said prosecutor Marianne Nyh had turned down an offer to interrogate Assange in Ecuador's Embassy in London.

Top Comments

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  • Idlehands

    Poor Ecuador

    Do they side with a friend accused of sex crimes or lose face by bowing to the pressure of world powers.

    I'm guessing they will give him asylum but have no way of getting him out of the country. Painters and decorators required at the embassy soon. I wonder what colour he'll chose to upgrade his self imposed cell to?

    Aug 02nd, 2012 - 07:48 am 0
  • DennisA

    It is obvious the ultimate aim is to send him to the US. His sex romps, while foolish, do seem to have produced some questionable charges. Surely there must be a way to get him out of the country if they give him asylum.

    Aug 02nd, 2012 - 08:09 am 0
  • The Chilean perspective

    It's obvious the swedish authorities are using these alleged sexual crimes as a cover to get him extradited so he can then be passed on to the Yanks.. it's a no brainer.

    Aug 02nd, 2012 - 08:30 am 0
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