Assange ducking extradition with Ecuadorians
posted at 6:31 pm on July 8, 2012 by Jazz Shaw
The last time we checked in with Julian Assange he was having yet another bad day in court. The wheels of Justice in London were turning slowly, but they finally rejected his last appeal to prevent his extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges. Given a couple of weeks to put his affairs in order, he was scheduled to leave by July 7.
That was yesterday. And yet… he remains, courtesy of the Ecuadorian embassy.
A deadline for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited to Sweden for questioning in sexual assault allegations came and went Saturday with no apparent movement.
Assange is believed to still be inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been holed up since applying for political asylum on June 19.
The South American country has said it is considering his application…
Assange sought refuge at the embassy five days after the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom dismissed a bid to reopen his appeal of the decision to send him to Sweden — his last option in British courts.
It is unclear when Ecuador will make a decision on Assange’s asylum request.
A lot of what happens next will ride heavily on the twisted web of western hemisphere politics and seemingly unrelated events nearly half a world away. If we were in a nice, cozy relationship with Ecuador, odds are good that President Obama could pick up the phone, toss a few sweeteners into the deal and Assange would be booted out of the embassy tout de suite. Sadly, that’s hardly the case.
Our relations with Ecuador have been going downhill for a while, even more so since President Rafael Correa fell increasingly under the sway of Hugo Chavez. (You may recall that Chavez wasn’t exactly a fan of the last president either.) But things haven’t improved under Obama at all. Sending Hillary Clinton down there in 2010 produced pretty much zero, zilch and nada. (How did that possibly go wrong?)
And just last year our Ambassador to Ecuador was declared persona non grata in the country. Speaking of the tangled web I referenced above, it’s somewhat ironic that the primary reason she was shown the door was the fact that Wikileaks had published a memo of hers where she criticized the administration’s decision to appoint a corrupt police commander. It all seems to come full circle, doesn’t it?
If Ecuador either liked us or feared us enough, we could probably jump in and help the Brits with this Assange extradition situation, but they seem to be neither. That’s not to say that the UK may not still pry Assange out, particularly if helping him doesn’t seem to provide any real benefit to Ecuador, but it looks like the US will be sitting this one out on the sidelines.