Ecuador: U.K. Threatened To Arrest Wikileaks Founder Inside Embassy

Ecuador has accused the UK of making a “threat” to enter its embassy in London to arrest Wikileaks’ Julian Assange. Mr Assange took refuge at the embassy in June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over assault and rape claims, which he denies.

The Wikileaks website published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments, particularly the US, in 2010, and Mr Assange says he fears Sweden will pass him on to the American authorities.

At a news conference in Quito on Wednesday, Ecuador foreign minister Ricardo  Patino said a letter from the UK government was delivered through a British embassy official: “Today we received from the United Kingdom an express threat, in writing, that they might storm our Embassy in London if we don’t hand over Julian Assange,” he said. He said such a threat was “improper of a democratic, civilised and rule abiding country”.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the UK remained “determined” to fulfill its obligation to extradite Mr Assange. Police have so far been unable to detain Mr Assange for breaching the terms of his bail as he is on diplomatic territory. The law Britain has informed Ecuador it could use in the case is the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987. It allows the UK to revoke the diplomatic status of an embassy on UK soil, which would potentially allow police to enter the building to arrest Mr Assange.

In 2010, two female ex-Wikileaks volunteers alleged that Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, had attacked them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture. Mr Assange claims the sex was consensual and the allegations are politically motivated. He says he is concerned he may be sent later to the US to face espionage charges. In June, judges at the UK’s Supreme Court dismissed his final appeal against extradition to Sweden.

Should Ecuador just hand over Julian Assange to avoid more conflict? Do you think the Wikileaks founder is guilty of the assault and rape charges he is currently facing?

Source: BBC News

Image: Reuters

Britain Condemns Embassy Incursion in Iran

Britain condemned Iran for allowing protesters to storm its embassy and a separate diplomatic compound in Tehran on Tuesday, warning there will be “serious consequences” as a result.

The incursion happened after about 1,000 people gathered near the embassy to demand that the British ambassador be sent home immediately. The rally began quietly, but some participants then stormed the building, breaking down the door, throwing around papers and replacing the British flag with an Iranian one.

British Prime Minister David Cameron described the incursion as “outrageous and indefensible” and demanded that Iran immediately ensure the safety of all British Embassy personnel. Iranian security forces are responsible for guarding the embassy under international law, he said. By Tuesday evening, the protesters had been cleared from both sites by police and 12 students have been arrested.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry expressed its regret for the student protest, “which turned into an out of control demonstration,” in a statement on its website. The ministry said it would “take action through legal channels” against those who stormed the embassy building. It is now advising British nationals in Iran “to stay indoors, keep a low profile and await further advice.”

The demonstration followed a vote Sunday by the Iranian Parliament to expel the ambassador and reduce diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom in retaliation for newly imposed Western sanctions, according to Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA.

Britain cut all financial ties with Iran last week over concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, the first time it has cut an entire country’s banking sector off from British finance, the British Treasury announced. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and has called the U.N. watchdog’s report “unbalanced” and “politically motivated.”


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