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UK would refuse Assange safe passage: London


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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks at a news conference in London in this February 27, 2012. — File Photo by Reuters

LONDON: Britain has told Ecuador that it would refuse WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange safe passage out of the country even if Quito grants him asylum, official notes showed Thursday.

“We must be absolutely clear this means that, should we receive a request for safe passage for Mr Assange, after granting asylum, this would be refused,” Britain's charge d'affaires told Ecuador's government, a note of the meeting showed.

Ecuador was due Thursday to announce its decision on Assange's request for asylum.

The Australian national took refuge in the embassy on June 19 having exhausted his legal options as he fights extradition to Sweden to face questioning over alleged sexual offences.

Assange, a former computer hacker, angered the United States after his website published thousands of secret files that hugely embarrassed Washington and several governments, in 2010.

The 41-year-old says he fears eventual deportation from Sweden to the United States where he believes he would be tried for his website's release of thousands of diplomatic cables and logs relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Britain says it remains determined to extradite Assange to Sweden.

Comments (3) Closed

Munir Varraich Aug 17, 2012 10:14am
If the British government refuses safe passage out of Britain, after Assange is given asylum by Ecuador, then a wrong precedence will be set. Political activists in countries under dictatorships will not be able to take shelter in the embassies and if they are given asylum by any democratic country then the dictatorship can quote this precedence of the British government to justify their refusal to give safe passage to such a person. And what about the International Law? How does this act of the British government fit into that law. Munir Varraich Sweden
Abdullah K.Niazi Aug 16, 2012 07:50pm
So Britain wants to prosecute Julian Assange , wants to extradite him to Sweden. Double standards. There are few Pakistanis, some living there for years, criminal cases are pending against them in Pakistani courts.Wonder if they will ever be extradited !!. Assange did us Pakistani a favour, he exposed all those holier than thou politicians. All of them were in the same boat - seeking America's blessing .
SKumar Aug 17, 2012 09:23am
Britain claims it stands for democracy. It is now doing right the opposite. Clearly, acting on trumped up charges of rape that too by a national who is not British, against a national who also is not British, goes against the spirit of individual freedom and rights. Are we heading towards an era of A Brave New World. Aldous Huxley must be turning in his grave.SKumar. Chennai