Assange Granted Asylum as Tensions Heat Up Between Britain and Ecuador

By Jon Partridge on at

It looks like Julian Assange will be keeping the couch warm in the Embassy for a fair bit longer as he has now been granted political asylum by the Ecuadorian government, making his stand-off extended for an undetermined amount of time. UK officials, on the other hand, are getting a little bit antsy.

The British government doesn't sound too happy about the decision, which will undoubtedly strain relations even further between Britain and the South American country. Ecuador made the announcement after expressing their dismay that the relations between the two countries had come to such blows, arguing that the Foreign Office had begun to use "threatening and intimidating" language when discussing the fate of the WikiLeaks founder.

Having already stayed in the embassy for almost two months, Assange is still hiding away over fears he may be extradited to America and faced with an unfair trial due to his involvement with WikiLeaks. However, the decision is unlikely to affect the stand-off over his future, as Assange faces arrest as soon as he takes a single step out of the embassy premises.

Foreign Minister of Ecuador, Ricardo Patino, had received a letter from the UK government which contained a threat that it may storm the embassy if it did not hand over Assange. He then said that the threat was "improper of a democratic, civilised and rule abiding country." Ecuador has said that it will respond to any attempt by police to enter the embassy to take Assange.

Britain may use legislation from 1987 that would enable them to enter the embassy and take Assange, but an unnamed advisor claims that the legislation is only applicable in instances where Britain has felt the safety of the public or national security was in danger. Any use of the legislation to take the Assange would be a pretty "improper" use of the legislation, according to the advisor.

Who reckons he's going to be in there for the long haul? [TechEye, The Independent]

Image Credit: New Media Days