Julian Assange: UK ‘threat’ to arrest Wikileaks founder (BBC)

August 16, 2012

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.

Ecuador says a decision on his claim for political asylum will come later.

The UK Foreign Office says it can lift the embassy’s diplomatic status to fulfil a “legal obligation” to extradite the 41-year-old.

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 that Sweden will pass him on to the American authorities.

A number of police officers are outside the Ecuadorean embassy, in Knightsbridge, where some of Mr Assange’s supporters have also gathered.

Demonstrators also protested outside the British embassy in Ecuador’s capital. Images from Quito showed protesters holding signs saying “We are sovereign, not colonies” and a union jack being stepped on.

At a news conference in Quito on Wednesday, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, said a letter from the UK government had been delivered through a British embassy official.

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