It was only a few weeks ago that Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, lost his appeal to the UK Supreme Court. It seemed like it was all but certain that he would be extradited to Sweden over charges of sexual assault. Then the unthinkable happened, Assange fled to the Ecuador embassy in London and filed for political asylum.
The Independent is reporting that Assange fled to the Ecuador embassy on Tuesday afternoon. He applied for political asylum under the United Nations Human Rights Declaration. It is clear that Assange feels his extradition and charges he faces in Sweden are politically motivated. If granted asylum, he would be protected by Ecuador’s government against what he views as political attacks.
The Ecuador embassy confirmed the application for asylum and said that he would remain under their protection at the embassy until they finish processing his request. While they are protecting Assage, it would seem that the Ecuadorian government isn’t trying to make enemies of those who want the Wikileaks founder. The embassy issued a statement stating they are not intending to interfere in the “judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden.” They also will apparently speak with delegates from the UK, Sweden and the US on the matter.
If Assange’s request for asylum is not granted, however, he could be in more trouble than before. The Independent is also reporting that Assange has breached his bail conditions by going to the embassy. His bail conditions stated that he had to remain at a specific address from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. Since he stayed overnight at the embassy, he violated the bail conditions and is now wanted by the police.
All of this is just one more crazy layer on top of the already crazy Wikileaks saga. It’s anybody’s game now and nobody knows where it’s going to end up. Will Assange be granted asylum and find himself taking it easy in Ecuador? Or will his request be rejected and end up behind bars in Sweden? We probably won’t know anything for a few days, but we’ll let you know as soon as we do.