Assange: Australian neglect made me flee to Ecuador embassy
Julian Assange™ has spent his third night in the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he continued to await the outcome of his plea for political asylum from the South American country.
In the meantime, the WikiLeaker-in-chief has been grumbling to a radio station that his homeland of Australia had ditched him in his hour of need.
On Thursday, he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that the country where he was born had made an “effective declaration of abandonment” by declining to apply any political pressure to prevent Assange from being extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual molestation, rape and coercion.
He admitted, according to the Associated Press, that it was unclear whether Ecuador would recognise his plight.
“We had heard that the Ecuadoreans were sympathetic in relation to my struggles and the struggles of the organisation with the United States,” Assange explained to ABC.
However, Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, reportedly said yesterday that Assange’s asylum bid was still being carefully considered, and he did not indicate how quickly a decision might be made.
“We are going to have to discuss with and seek the opinions of other countries. We don’t wish to offend anyone, least of all a country we hold in such deep regard as the United Kingdom,” said Correa to reporters, after he arrived in Brazil for a climate summit.
He added: “Once a decision is made we can talk about safe passage and such things.”
That’s a statement which appears to suggest that Assange will indeed be granted political asylum in Ecuador: but which acknowledges the fact that he will be unable to reach South America without British consent.
As we reported on Wednesday, Assange’s bizarre plea for political asylum meant that the 40-year-old had broken one of the conditions of his UK bail terms, which had been in force since his arrest in December 2010.
He had been cuffed, courtesy of a European Arrest Warrant, by the Met’s extradition unit on behalf of Swedish authorities.
By taking up residence in the Ecuadorian Embassy’s flat in Knightsbridge, London, the computer hacker broke a curfew set out by Scotland Yard, which demanded that Assange remain holed up at his bail address between the hours of 22.00 and 8.00.
The moment he steps outside the door, Assange will be re-arrested under the Bail Act by police officers currently camped outside the embassy.
Meanwhile, Assange’s celebrity friends, some of whom raised more than £200,000 bail for his release, expressed surprise and embarrassment in response to Assange’s actions.
Long-term supporter Jemima Khan said on Twitter yesterday that she “personally would like to see Assange confront the rape allegations in Sweden and the 2 women at the centre have a right to a response”.
Before adding: “BUT there is no doubt that Assange has a real fear of being extradited to the US nor that the US gov is out to get WikiLeaks.”
She later clarified her comment by stating: “My tweet misinterpreted. Obvs I’d like Assange to answer allegations clear his name but I understand why he’s taken such drastic action.”
Earlier this week, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the WikiLeaks founder has enjoyed extensive consular assistance from Oz and added that he would continue to enjoy it. ®