Britain Threatens To Raid Ecuador’s Embassy Over Assange Amnesty Issue

Ecuador Embassy

Ecuador have accused Britain of threatening to storm its London embassy to arrest  Wikileaks founder Julian Assange after the U.K. issued a warning to the South American country just a few days short of its decision on Assange’s asylum bid will be made public.

Assange went to ground in Ecuador’s embassy and applied for amnesty from the country in June to avoid extradition to Sweden where he faces questioning over alleged sexual misconduct. Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said that he would be announcing on Thursday morning whether Assange’s request would be granted or not. Patino said it was shortly after this announcement that Britain sent a “written threat that it could assault our embassy” should Assange not be handed over.

British officials maintain that they will not allow Assange safe passage out of the country even if he is granted asylum. The British have stated that Assange will be arrested as soon as he leaves the embassy.

In the wake of Patino’s statement, Britain’s Foreign Office released a statement citing a 1987 British law which, according to them, permits the revocation of diplomatic status of a building if the foreign power occupying it “ceases to use land for the purposes of its mission or exclusively for the purposes of a consular post.” The office maintains that their warning was not a threat and they were simply clarifying “all aspects of British law that Ecuador should be aware of.”

Assange and Wikileaks are best known around the world for the publishing of thousands of sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables and military dispatches which angered and embarrassed many in the U.S. government. His supporters maintain that the U.S. has secretly indicted Assange and should he be extradited to Sweden, the U.S. will simply extradite him from there.

Ecuador president, Rafael Correa, has expressed sympathy for Assange and has said that Assange could face the death penalty in the U.S. It’s for this reason that he is considering the asylum request as a question of political persecution.

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