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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Respect fundamental rights of all people ─ Ecuadorian Gov’t on Assange asylum

Republic of Ecuador
Embassy in London
threatened by UK officials 
Ecuador finds and responds to fact and probability of citizen being subjected to and threatened with “political persecution, impairment and violation of his rights, risk to integrity, personal security and freedom.” [August 16, 2012]
Excerpt, minor editing by Carolyn Bennett   

“The Government of Ecuador faithful to its tradition to protect those who seek shelter in its territory or in the premises of its diplomatic missions [decided] to grant diplomatic asylum to the citizen Julian Assange.” 

After “carrying out a fair and objective assessment of the situation exposed by Mr. Assange” with attention to the requester’s sayings, argumentations and fears [fears that led him to exercise his human right of seeking and receiving asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in the United Kingdom], indications allowed the Government of Ecuador “to assume that there may be a political persecution or that such persecution may be produced if opportune and necessary measures are not taken to avoid it.” 

Grounds for Ecuador’s grant of asylum (excerpt) 

That Julian Assange is a communication professional internationally awarded for his struggle on freedom of expression, freedom of press and human rights in general;  

That Mr. Assange shared with the global population privileged documented information that was generated by different sources, and that affected officials, countries and organizations;  

That there are serious indications of retaliation by the country or countries that produced the information disclosed by Mr. Assange, retaliation that can put at risk his safety, integrity and even his life;  

That, despite the diplomatic efforts carried out by the Ecuadorian State, the countries from which guarantees have been requested to protect the life and safety of Mr. Assange, have denied to provide them;  

That, there is a certainty of the Ecuadorian authorities that an extradition to a third country outside the European Union is feasible without the proper guarantees for his safety and personal integrity;  

That the judicial evidence shows clearly that, given an extradition to the United States, Mr. Assange would not have a fair trial, he could be judged by a special or military court, and it is not unlikely that he would receive a cruel and demeaning treatment and he would be condemned to a life sentence or the death penalty, which would not respect his human rights;  

That, even when indeed Mr. Assange has to respond to the investigation open in Sweden, Ecuador is aware that the Swedish prosecutor’s office has had a contradictory attitude that prevented Mr. Assange from the total exercise of the legitimate right to defense;  

That Ecuador is convinced that the procedural rights of Mr. Assange have been infringed during that investigation:  

That Ecuador has verified that Mr. Assange does not count with the adequate protection and help that he should receive from the State of which he is a citizen;  

That, according to several public statements and diplomatic communications made by officials from Great Britain, Sweden and the United States, it is deduced that those governments would not respect the international conventions and treaties and would give priority to internal laws of secondary hierarchy, contravening explicit norms of universal application; and,  

That, if Mr. Assange is reduced to preventive prison in Sweden (as it is usual in that country), it would initiate a chain of events that will prevent the adoption of preventive measures to avoid his extradition to a third country.  

“The Ecuadorian Government,” the official statement said, “considers that these arguments back up Julian Assange’s fears; thus, he can be a victim of political persecution as a consequence of his determined defense to freedom of expression and freedom of press as well as his position in  condemning abuses that power confers in different countries ─ aspects that make Mr. Assange think that, in any given moment, a situation may come where his life, safety or personal integrity will be in danger.” 

Universal Declaration of
Human Rights
Basic rights of all people must be internationally respected

The Government of Ecuador trusts that the United Kingdom will offer as soon as possible the guarantees of safe conduct necessary and pertinent to the situation of the asylum requester, so their Governments [Ecuador and the UK] can with their actions honor the fidelity they owe to the international laws and institutions that both nations have contributed to shaping along their common history.

The Government of Ecuador also trusts to maintain inalterable the excellent bonds of friendship and mutual respect that unite Ecuador and the United Kingdom and their respective people, confident as they are in the promotion and defense of the same principles and values, and because they share similar concerns about democracy, peace, Good Living, which can only be possible if the fundamental rights of all people are respected.

Sources and notes

“Statement of the Government of the Republic of Ecuador on the asylum request of Julian Assange,” NEWS RELEASES OF THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS, TRADE AND INTEGRATION MINISTRY, August 16, 2012, Carrión E1-76 y Av. 10 de Agosto (593 2) 299-3200
Quito – Ecuador, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration Ministry © 2009 - 2010
Republic of Ecuador, http://www.mmrree.gob.ec/eng/2012/com042.asp

More from Ecuador’s official statement


During the course of its investigation in considering Julian Assange’s request for political asylum to Ecuador, the Ecuadorian Government held “dialogues of high diplomatic level … with the United Kingdom, Sweden and the United States.”
In the course of the conversations, [Ecuador] “appealed to obtain from the United Kingdom the strictest guarantees Julian Assange faces, with no obstacles, the judicial process open in Sweden.”

UK fails to respond

Such guarantees include that once his legal responsibilities [are met] in Sweden he would not be extradited to a third country; this is, the guarantee that the specialty figure will not be applied.
Unfortunately, and despite repeated exchanges of texts, the United Kingdom never gave proof of wanting to achieve political compromises, limiting to repeat the content of the legal texts.

Sweden fails to engage

Julian Assange’s lawyers requested the Swedish justice to take statements of Julian Assange in the premises of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Ecuador translated officially to the Swedish authorities its will to facilitate this interview with the purpose of not intervening or [thwarting] the judicial process that is carried out in Sweden. This is a perfectly legal and possible measure. Sweden did not accept it.

On the other hand, Ecuador searched the possibility that the Swedish Government would establish guarantees to avoid the onward extradition of Assange to the United States. Again, the Swedish Government rejected any commitment on that sense.

United States fails to respond

Finally, Ecuador directed a communication to the Government of the United States to know officially its position on the Assange’s case. The consultations referred to the following:
If there is a legal process in course or the intention to carry out such process against Julian Assange and/ or the founders of the Wikileaks organization
In the case of the above being truth, what kind of legislation, in which conditions and under which maximum penalties would those people be subjected
If there is the intention of requesting the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States

The answer of the United States has been that they cannot offer information on the Assange’s case, with the allegation that it is a bilateral matter between Ecuador and the United Kingdom.
“… The Government of Ecuador faithful to its tradition to protect those who seek shelter in its territory or in the premises of its diplomatic missions [decided] to grant diplomatic asylum to the citizen Julian Assange, on the basis of the request presented to the President of the Republic, through a written communication dated in London on June 19, 2012, and complemented by a communication dated in London on June 25, 2012, for which the Ecuadorian Government, after carrying out a fair and objective assessment of the situation exposed by Mr. Assange, attending his own sayings and argumentations, intakes the requester’s fears, and assumes that there are indications that allow [the Government of Ecuador] to assume that there may be a political persecution, or that such persecution may be produced if the opportune and necessary measures are not taken to avoid it.”

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