We brought you word a few days ago that Julian Assange was to be granted asylum to Ecuador. The country’s president, Rafael Correa, quickly tweeted that the news was fake and that a decision would be made Thursday morning. It’s now Thursday morning and that decision has been made.
Ecuador has announced that they are granting Julian Assange asylum. They claim that Assange can get in a car and drive to the airport under their protection.
The news comes after a tough night that had the UK police lined up outside of the Ecuadorian embassy. The UK government claimed that they could invoke a law that would allow them to revoke Ecuador’s embassy status. That would allow the police to raid the embassy and arrest Assange. Ecuador says that no national law can supersede international laws such as the Geneva Convention. The country also said that any such action would be viewed as a “hostile act.”
As many people on Twitter pointed out, this may be the first time that an International incident was caused over a Web site. Julian Assange was the founder of WikiLeaks, but is wanted in Sweden for questioning over rape charges. Many people saw the extradition to Sweden as just a stepping stone for extradition to the U.S. where Assange would face charges under the Espionage Act.
As expected, Twitter has exploded with the news. Here’s a few of the choice Tweets:
Now, Londoners, GET YOUR ASS TO THE ECUADORIAN EMBASSY #Assange
KEY FACT HERE: Ecuador FM: we tried to get Sweden to agree to no extradition to US in exchange for Assange going to Sweden – they said NO
HEY PEOPLE OF LONDON I HEARD THERE’S FREE TEA AND SCONES AT THE ECUADOR EMBASSY FOR PEOPLE WHO GO AND PROTEST THERE *NOW* #WikiLeaks
Now that UK has decided to raid embassies in its country, other countries might do this to UK embassies. This is a bad precedent for them.
Assange gets asylum cos risk of persecution by America. Will Aus govt NOW start helping him? Ecuador better at human rights than UK, Aus
As the last Tweet points out, safe passage for Assange is going to be the big issue today. There are rumors going around on Twitter that Ecuador has granted Assange not only asylum but citizenship and diplomatic immunity as well. Under international law, the UK government would have to let him go. They’ve already proved that their willing to risk an International incident by threatening Ecuador so who knows what’s going to happen next. We’ll continue to follow the story as it develops.