WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has applied for political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Tuesday, reports Wired.
After having its final extradition appeal denied by the Supreme Court in London in late May, and given the fact that the date of its extradition is speedily approaching, it seems like he lost faith in a favorable outcome of his and his solicitors’ efforts and decided to take a gamble.
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” Still, “the right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”
As we all know, Assange is not wanted for political crimes, and this might shatter his latest plan.
The Ecuadorian embassy has issued an official statement regarding the matter, pointing out that it is “evaluating the request of Mr. Julian Assange and any decision on it will take into account respect for the rules and principles of international law and the traditional policy of Ecuador to safeguarding human rights,” but also that “the decision to consider Mr Assange’s application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the Government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden.”
Assange’s decision to apply for asylum in Ecuador is not wholly unexpected, as its former deputy foreign minister Kintto Lucas mentioned in 2010 that Ecuador would welcome him, and Assange has since kept in contact with the Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, who seems amenable to the option.
In the meantime, the British authorities have stated that Assange has violated the terms of his bail, and will be arrested if he leaves the grounds of the embassy.