According to the BBC, Julian Assange is seeking political asylum in Ecuador. Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, says that Assange is being held by the Ecuadorean embassy in London and will remain under protection until a decision is made.
After being arrested in 2010 for disseminating a massive number of US diplomatic cables through a website called Wikileaks, Assange was threatened with extradition claims to Sweden and the US. Now, for fear of facing allegations in Sweden, where he could see a subsequent extradition to the US, Assange has applied for asylum in Ecuador.
The Ecuadorean government says that “the decision to consider Mr Assange’s application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the Government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden.” However, according to a Guardian report, “assessments for asylum requests take priority over extradition claims” under UK law.
Daniel Schmitt, a co-founder of Wikileaks, says that Assange is “one of the few people who really care about positive reform in this world to a level where you’re willing to do something radical to risk making a mistake, just for the sake of working on something they believe in”. The Economist Intelligence Unit gives a democracy rating of 5.72 (89) to Ecuador, the country where Assange seeks asylum. The US (18th), where Assange faces allegations, earns top tier rank – 8.90.
Ecuador’s deputy foreign minister has offered the possibility of asylum in order to show favor for Assange and his intention to present the information he has. However, President Rafael Correa denied that statement. Until the embassy makes a decision, Assange will remain inside the safety of embassy grounds – out of reach of the hands of London police, Sweden and the US.