The Ecuadorian Ambassador has left London to return to her home country for talks on the bid by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for political asylum.
24 june 2012
Anna Alban is travelling to meet Ecuador’s President Correa in the capital Quito, where she will personally brief him on Mr Assange’s application. She will also hold a series of meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr Assange suddenly arrived at the Embassy on Tuesday in a dramatic twist to his fight to avoid extradition to Sweden where he wanted for questioning about alleged sex offences.
A spokesman for the Ecuadorian Embassy said: ”Ecuador presently finds itself in a unique situation and it is important that those responsible making the final decision on Mr Assange’s application are fully briefed on all aspects of the present situation.”
The South American country says he is under its protection while it considers the application. Mr Assange, 40, faces arrest for breaching the terms of his bail if he leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed in a statement that the Australian was ”beyond the reach of the police” while he remains in the building.
Mr Assange is set to be extradited to Sweden, where he faces accusations of raping a woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in Stockholm in August 2010 while on a visit to give a lecture.
Mr Assange, whose WikiLeaks website has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments and international businesses, says the sex was consensual and the allegations against him are politically motivated.
The WikiLeaks founder has now been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy for six days while Ecuador’s political leaders discussed whether or not he would face the death penalty should Sweden send him to the US.
In a radio interview from inside the embassy, Mr Assange accused Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard of “slimy rhetoric” and the Swedish authorities of failing to respect his human rights.
“The Swedes announced publicly, that they would detain me, in prison, without charge while they continued their so-called investigation,” he told ABC Radio Australia.
He dismissed repeated claims from the Australian government that he had been receiving ongoing consular assistance.
“I haven’t met with anyone from the Australian High Commission since December 2010,” he said.
Experts and authorities believe that even if Ecuador were to grant him asylum, he would face arrest as soon as he walked out of the embassy because he has breached his bail conditions.
The 40-year-old Australian is meant to remain at a bail address in Tunbridge Wells between 10pm and 8am while his appeals continue.