Ecuador’s London ambassador leaves embassy with Assange future unclear
The Ecuadorian ambassador Ana Alban left the Knightsbridge embassy late, with Julian Assange still inside and unclear as to what his future is.
Assange, founder of the website ‘Wikileaks’, has been holed up in the building for the last 60 days whilst he has been seeking asylum from the Ecuadorian government – a request which was accepted yesterday.
Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden to face questions on rape and sexual molestation allegations. He claims that the allegations are false and a ruse to extradite him to the United States where he will face even more serious questions about the material Wikileaks published, including confidential military files and embarrassing diplomatic cables.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said that it still intends to extradite Assange to Sweden and has indicated that revoking the embassy’s diplomatic mission status is an option it may yet consider. Such a move would intensify the diplomatic row between the United Kingdom and Ecuador, as well as possibly set a precedent for other countries to do the same in less stable areas of the world.
The FCO have also indicated that Assange will not be given safe passage to Ecuador and will be arrested if he leaves the premises. Quite how Assange intends to fulfil his asylum is yet to be determined.