On Thursday, Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricard Patino, announced that his government had granted diplomatic asylum to Julian Assange, who took refuge at Ecuador’s London embassy on June 19. President Rafael Correa explained in a radio interview that asylum was granted because Assange deserves due process, and Sweden had refused to give assurance that it would protect Assange from extradition to the US. Assange has been battling U.K. extradition to Sweden to answer questions about allegations of sexual misconduct.
The announcement was good news to the more than 4,000 people who had signed petitions asking President Correa to grant asylum to the founder of Wikileaks. Robert Naiman, Director of Just Foreign policy, delivered the petitions on June 25 to the Embassy of Ecuador in London. Signers included Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Coleen Rowley, Danny Glover, Glenn Greenwald, Michael Moore and others (including this writer).
British and US authorities may not formally embrace “diplomatic immunity,” but they are well-practiced in applying the concept. Trying to reserve that privilege for themselves will be unhelpful to international relations.
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