Live on RT: Assange to address UN on human rights
Among those joining Assange for the panel discussion at the 67th General Assembly Debate on Wednesday will be Ricardo Patino, Foreign Affairs Minister of Ecuador, and Baher Azmy, the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Ecuador’s sponsorship of the event is linked to their mid-August decision to grant Assange political asylum, a move that sparked worldwide debate over the legal and human rights dimensions of diplomatic asylum.
Assange took shelter in Ecuador’s London embassy in June after losing his court battle to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual assault. The WikiLeaks founder fears he will be extradited to the US after arriving in Sweden for his role in leaking thousands of secret US diplomatic and military cables. Washington and Stockholm denied Assange’s allegations.
A breakthrough in the diplomatic standoff between Britain and Ecuador over Assange could be forthcoming, as UK Foreign Secretary William Hague will meet with Patino during the UN summit on Thursday.
Ecuador is expected to request safe passage for Assange to Ecuador’s embassy in Sweden, where he would be questioned on the sex crimes allegations leveled against him.
The UK sparked controversy in August when it threatened to storm Ecuador’s embassy in London to arrest Assange. UK officials later backed down, though the country’s Foreign Office maintained it has a binding obligation to arrest Assange once he leaves the embassy grounds.
Patino argued that allowing Assange to be transferred to the country’s embassy in Sweden would be a acceptable compromise for all parties involved, as he would “remain under our protection while also satisfying the demands of the Swedish justice system.”
Assange’s battle against the accusations was recently buoyed by the revelation that a torn condom he purportedly used in one of the alleged 2010 incidents did not contain his DNA. This discovery may have prompted Ecuador to consider sending Assange to Sweden for questioning. Patino made no direct mention of the evidence, but noted “new” developments in the case, and that "several elements of proof have been dismissed."
The UK and Sweden remained silent on the possibility of a compromise, though both publicly vowed that Assange should not be an exception to their legal systems.
Patino said that, barring a breakthrough, Ecuador could take the Assange case to the International Court of Justice.
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