Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for nearly three years under threat of extradition. Swedish prosecutors wish to question him about allegations of sexual assault, although he has never been charged.
In an interview with euronews, Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa said that Assange would always be welcome in the embassy, for the rest of his life in necessary. He added that the solution lies with the UK government, and called on them to grant him immunity adding, “If we had a European refugee in a European embassy in Quito, if we were to keep him three years without letting him stay, we would be called dictators, fascists. We would be brought in front of the International Criminal Court.”
It comes as a Swedish prosecutor cancelled an appointment to interview Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in the British capital on Wednesday, a move which Assange described as reckless. Prosecutor Mariane Ny said she had not received permission to enter the embassy. Speaking to euronews earlier on, Correa said that Sweden could have acted sooner to resolve the issue.
“Sweden could have always had a deposition in our embassy in London. Why didn’t they do it before? Now they do it because otherwise they risk that the entire process will run out of time. So all these questions you have to put to Sweden and London, they could solve the problem tomorrow.”
The Australian publisher and journalist sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy over fears that if Britain extradited him to Sweden for questioning, he could then be sent to the US where he could be tried for one of the largest information leaks in American history.
Commenting on the controversy Correa said:
“We haven’t agreed to asylum because we agree with what Assange did. I believe that every state has the right to keep secret some confidential information. Even if some leaks which were made public were horrible. They show immorality and abuses. If something illegal has happened it should be punished. The result doesn’t justify the means.
He said that the reason they granted Assange asylum was because he wasn’t guaranteed a fair trial.