Ecuador’s Ambassador in London on Thursday said that her government would take into account her country’s “long and well-established tradition in supporting human rights” while deciding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s request for political asylum.
Mr. Assange, confined to the small Ecuadorian embassy for the second day, was reported be in “good spirits” as Ambassador Anna Alban held talks with British officials amid reports that a decision was expected “soon”.
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa told the BBC: “Ecuador defends the right to live and we will have to check if there is danger of death [for Mr Assange]”.
Mr. Assange sought asylum after Britain’s Supreme Court dismissed his appeal against extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault. He fears that Sweden would hand him over to U.S. authorities who have threatened to prosecute him for leaking confidential state documents.
Police said he would be arrested the moment he stepped out of the embassy for breaking his bail conditions which required him to stay at a designated address — his friend Vaughan Smith’s country home in Norfolk. His supporters, who stood surety for his £240,000 bail, expressed surprise at his decision saying they felt let down.
The Foreign Office said Ecuador was faced with an “unprecedented” situation.
“There is no reason to believe that all this was anything other than a surprise to them [Ecuador], and they are dealing with an unprecedented set of circumstances,” a spokesman said after talks between Ms. Alban and British officials.