With PRISM whistleblower Edward Snowden nicking all the anti-secrecy press, the Ecuadorian government has reminded the world that it is still looking after Julian Assange.
Assange has been effectively under house arrest in the Ecuador embassy because he refuses to go to Sweden to face sex charges. A copper outside the embassy waiting to arrest him costs the UK taxpayer £3 million a year. He must be a well paid copper.
Any hope that the Ecuadorians might have changed their mind now that there had been a change of government in the country appears to have been dashed.
Talking to the Independent, the Equadorian ambassador Ricardo Patino claimed that Assange is prepared to stay for five years at the Ecuadorian embassy.
He denied Assange’s health was worsening, maintained he was “in good spirits” and confirmed Ecuador will continue to provide political asylum.
The UK and Ecuador are in a legal stalemate over what to do with Assange and have formed a working group to hammer out a deal.
The Foreign Office admitted that “no substantive progress” has been made and any resolution would need to be within UK law.
Patino claimed that Assange’s human rights to safe passage out of the UK were being violated by an intransigent British government.
Assange has claimed that if he was extradited to Sweden, he will be sent to the United States and potentially face the death penalty relating to charges of disclosing confidential material. He has never explained why if the US wanted to extradited him they didn’t do it when he was in the UK.
The UK’s Hoe (sic) Secretary Teresa May would have loved to extradite him to the US and with the government wasting £3 million to wait for him to come out of the embassy, we expect William Hague would have gift wrapped him.
There appears to be no warrant from the US for Assange and any claim that if he did not face the music for the sexual offences he would be extradited seems to be largely in his own head.
Patino said the Ecuador government had offered the Swedish legal authorities the opportunity to question Assange about the allegations in their London embassy. The Swedish had not replied.