Ecuador News

Ecuador expects ‘safe passage’ for Julian Assange after Sweden drops charges

By Jim Wyss

The government of Ecuador on Friday said WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange should be granted safe passage to the South American nation after Swedish authorities dropped their investigation of him.

Julian Assange after announcement. (Getty Images)

Assange has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for five years avoiding extradition to Sweden where he was wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual assault. Prosecutors eventually interviewed him at the embassy in November. Sweden dropped the investigation on Friday.

In a series of tweets, Ecuador Foreign Minister Guillaume Long questioned the delays.

“Ecuador regrets that it took Swedish Prosecutor more than four years to carry out this interview. This was a wholly unnecessary delay,” Long wrote. “The European arrest warrant no longer holds. The UK must now grant safe passage to Mr. Julian Assange.”

British police, however, say Assange is still facing arrest if he leaves the compound. The Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for Assange’s arrest following his failure to surrender in June 2012, and London police say they are obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy.

The warrant is based on the Swedish charges, however, so it is uncertain if it would remain valid if challenged in court. Ecuador says it will discuss the matter with British authorities in the coming days.

Assange took to Twitter to say that he’d been sequestered without charges “while my children grew up and my name was slandered. I do not forgive or forget.”

Assange has long feared that the Swedish allegations were a ploy to have him extradited to the United States for WikiLeaks’ role in publishing classified documents. U.S. authorities, however, have never acknowledged he might be facing charges.

While WikiLeaks’ role in the U.S. elections (the site published the emails from Hillary Clinton’s server) was worldwide news, Assange was also an issue in Ecuador’s April presidential election.

Opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso, who lost the race, had said he would evict Assange from the embassy.

Ruling party candidate Lenín Moreno, however, said he will follow the policy of President Rafael Correa and let Assange fight the charges. Moreno will be sworn in as president next week.

Assange says he looks forward to moving to Ecuador.

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Credit: Miami Herald, www.miamiherald.com

  • Globetrotter

    Pathetic. Manning as well. What a coincidence (not). Anyone involved in their incarcerations should be forever haunted and shamed.

    When it comes to Assange, I speculate we are seeing the first international ripples of the Trump factor. More to come.

    • edgeof2

      Your opinion. Julian Asssnge is simply a publisher in a legal sense and there is no crime there. What he publishes is truth in the words of the entities and people that work behind your back for their own self interests. It will be an honor to have him here in Ecuador. The trump factor ?? Hopefully less to come….

      • Globetrotter

        We agree…but you misunderstood me. The TRUMP FACTOR, in this case in the international realm, is the unprecedented overnight decline in American prestige and influence, not merely among its enemies, but more importantly, among its allies!

        In Europe yesterday, there was an editorial cartoon sarcastically wondering whether Air Force One took off in the right direction for its first stop.

        Supporting the USA today is a political liability and politicians, whatever their country, like being re-elected. Did Sweden drop its unpopular pursuit of Assange just now by coincidence or has its former obsequious awe of the US suddenly dumped?

        • Jason Faulkner

          The Trump factor won’t last through the summer. Get used to saying President Pence.

    • Ricki

      First thing Sessions said was he wanted Assange. But when the word came from Ecuador “no” and Session stated that he would take care of it, next you heard Ecuadorians aren’t getting visas to the US

      • Paul

        Sessions is a legend in his own mind, like Trump. He has zero to do with visas, or, making laws.

        • Ricki

          Well, Ecuadorians are not getting visas to the US.

          • Jason Faulkner

            Since when? I know many Ecuadorians in the US on visas right now.

  • Paul

    If Julian Assange makes it to Ecuador I’d love to buy him a beer.

    • Globetrotter

      On a social level. his rep suggests you would lose the price of the beer.

    • Paul

      P.S. And I’d buy Edward Snowden two beers if he makes it here.

    • Galileo

      I would buy him a beer but I wouldn’t sit too close to him.

  • El Mashi

    It is true that Assange published “classified” documents, but what were those documents? They were crimes. US crimes, and as any criminal worth its weight, you keep the criminal activity secret. For Julian Assange, there is a world of gratitude due to him. Shame on Sweden for its infamy. Ecuador has shown the world what dignity and sovereignty means.

  • Seasilver

    Makes me proud to live in the country that gave him asylum. Things are definitely going to get interesting.

  • StillWatching

    Assange, Snowden and Manning are heroes to all that believe in accountability and transparency in government———– no matter the bent of the government.

  • Dogoslave

    “The war has just begun” and the “I do not forgive or forget” threats really don’t help his situation, no matter where he lands, Like it or not, he’s never going to be out of the CIA’s reach and never really be free.

    • Joe Tana

      Amen

    • Jason Faulkner

      Nothing is going to help the situation. On one side you have the truth. On the other you have a massive organizational structure with unlimited funding that mows down anything that stands in its way. There is no financial penalty for being on the wrong side of history. If anything, it has much larger profit margins.

  • Globetrotter

    Sweden and Britain’s crime here is caving into pressure, making their own countries contemptible.

    • Andrew

      How did Britain do that, please explain your words. Sweden is a neutral country that would never bow to US pressure and issue false charges. If they did it wouldn’t be rape, a very hard to prove case in any country. To be charged with rape in very liberal Sweden would take some work. A warrant was issued for his arrest, not a surprise , he knew it was coming. He could have disappeared, but instead chose to showboat in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Britain received a lawful request from Sweden to arrest him for an extradition hearing. They have tried to have him arrested and in doing so incurred millions of dollars in costs guarding the Embassy. There is no arrest warrant for him from the US so how could he be sent there? I applaud his actions but the man himself is not what you think he is. I think a just punishment for him would be to live in exile in Ecuador. It would take away the limelight he craves so much.

      • Jason Faulkner

        The way rape laws work in Sweden, it’s actually one of the easiest countries to be charged with rape. However, he was never accused of rape. The accusation was “sex by surprise”, a very broad interpretation of sexual assault that is only a crime in Sweden. The maximum penalty is the equivalent of about 600 euros and no jail time, which makes you wonder why they didn’t just question him in the embassy 4 years ago and get it over with.

        • Stefan F

          Glad to see the other commenter corrected your carelessness about Swedish law. Do some research before opening your yap.

          • Jason Faulkner

            I don’t see the other commenter’s comments but I’m sure if an intellectual of your caliber endorses his words, they must be impressive. Thanks for your invaluable addition to the conversation. Your parents must be proud.

        • Globetrotter

          Thank you Jason. (Andrew, you have to get out more often.)

          There is no debate whether the two “victims” were the de facto predators in their encounters with Assange. In fact, the Swedish prosecutor refused to press charges after first talking with the two. Yet some mysterious force had the prosecutor’s decision reversed when, simultaneously, a hue and cry came from America that Assange, an Australian, had committed “treason” against the USA (though I doubt they were thinking about the one-night stands for this).

          This was all done under Obama/Clinton regime, ditto for the Manning/Snowden events. History will have a hard time judging who inflicted more damage upon the other, Obama/Clinton’s ugly use of their influence to incarcerate Assange.or the latter’s retribution last Fall. Certainly, we could muse that “What goes around comes around”.

          • StillWatching

            Bravo! Excellent analysis and info.

          • Jason Faulkner

            I’ve found that the people attacking Assange are almost always ignorant of the facts of the case and even more ignorant of the law. It takes a special kind of stupid to think an Australian can be charged with treason against the US.

      • StillWatching

        Your post is quite ill informed. First, Sweden is not a neutral country and hasn’t been since 1995 when it joined the E.U.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_country#Neutral_countries

        Far more importantly, you seem to have no knowledge of rape laws in Sweden.

        “The number of reported rapes in Sweden has risen. But the definition of rape has broadened over time, which makes it difficult to compare the figures. It is also misleading to compare the figures with other countries, as many acts that are considered rape under Swedish law are not considered rape in many other countries.

        For example: If a woman in Sweden reports that she has been raped by her husband every night for a year, that is counted as 365 separate offences; in most other countries this would be registered as a single offence, or would not be registered as an offence at all.

        Willingness to report such offences also differs dramatically between countries. A culture in which these crimes are talked about openly, and victims are not blamed, will also have more cases reported. Sweden has made a conscious effort to encourage women to report any offence.”

        http://www.government.se/articles/2017/02/facts-about-migration-and-crime-in-sweden/

        It is far easier for rape to be charged in Sweden than any other country and if you educate yourself about the arcane rape laws there, you will understand why it is easier to be charged and convicted. Crimes that would be charged as assault in other countries can be charged as rape in Sweden.

        http://www.government.se/articles/2017/02/facts-about-migration-and-crime-in-sweden/

        If you are really concerned about Assange being a rapist (he isn’t) read about the facts in the case and decide for yourself:

        https://justice4assange.com/assange-case-fact-checker.html

      • baba free

        Ah yes, the ‘just punishment of living in exile in Ecuador’…choose your words carefully Andrew…

        • Andrew

          I did its you who likes to twist them

      • Galileo

        Andrew, you need to slow down. No one is guilty of a crime so don’t you think discussion of just penalties is a little premature?

      • Ricki

        Statue of limitations ran out. Russia should take him.

        • Jason Faulkner

          The statute of limitations expires in 2020. They dropped the case because after questioning Assange, something they could have done 4 years ago, they realize they don’t have a case. The original prosecutor came to that same conclusion in 2010.

      • David Jones

        wow, are you amazingly uninformed .. perhaps you should read up on the TOTALLY BOGUS case which Sweden stuck to for these years of JA’s asylum

        • Andrew

          So you don’t know anything except to whine like a five year old

  • WorldPeace46

    “US authorities have never acknowledged he might be facing charges”http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39663058? This is the usual misinformation of the US press (Miami Herald?). Cuenca expats should be doing original reporting on all things Ecuadorian, don’t you think?

  • Jason Faulkner

    It is only a crime if you have signed a nondisclosure agreement (i.e., have a security clearance). US classification laws do not have jurisdiction outside of the US, especially not against foreign journalists.

    • Galileo

      Jason, I agree with you. Seems people overlook the “law” in their rush to judgement. There doesn’t seem to be a violation of law. Same holds true for the witch hunt in regards to Trump. What are the laws being violated, none? Then shut the H up!
      In Britain this was a big deal but when one of their own ministers stands accused of raping and murdering children nothing happens. Just saying.

  • Ken

    I’d be interested to talk with him over beers and burgers at the Inca Lounge.

  • Globetrotter

    I agree with that one.

  • Jason Faulkner

    Obstruction of justice is very much a crime. Nixon was going to impeached for obstructing justice before he resigned. As for what other crimes were committed, that was the point of the investigation Trump tried to shut down. I don’t think “I was just joking” will work as a defence.