Editor's Note: This Common Dreams article (below) proved to be false today with WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson saying yesterday that contrary to previous media reports, Assange had “no idea” when a decision would be made on his asylum bid. Assange said that the Ecuadoran government is still waiting for a response to their questions from the UK, the US and the Swedish authorities. Assange said he would remain in the embassy until the matter was settled.
- Les Blough, Editor
Last night Ecuadorian officials announced they will decide by the end of the day today whether or not to grant WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange political asylum. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since Tuesday, when he broke his bail conditions to make a plea for political asylum.
|Ecuador's President Rafael Correa gestures during meeting about the Yasuni-ITT Initiative at Rio+20, June 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
UK authorities have promised to arrest Assange for a breach of bail conditions as soon as he leaves the embassy, making it difficult for him to reach Ecuador even if political asylum is granted.
Nonetheless, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa will answer Assange today, as tension mounts around the case.
Correa stated last night that Assange needed somewhere "to continue his mission" to fight for freedom of expression, and that it was within Ecuador's sovereign rights to consider his asylum request.
Britain's supreme court ruled last week that Assange will be extradited to Sweden, where he faces accusations of sexual assault. From there, it is likely that he would be sent to the US on charges of espionage.
Assange maintains that the allegations against him are politically motivated -- an attack related to his work leaking damning diplomatic cables from the US government to news outlets around the world.
Per Samuelson, one of the WikiLeaks founder's two Swedish lawyers, said Assange "feels that he's persecuted politically by the U.S." for revealing American war crimes.
"He is convinced that the U.S. is preparing charges," he said. "He feels that his asylum application is not about the crime accusations he faces in Sweden, but is about getting protected from the U.S."
Source: Common Dreams