Julian Assange has been fighting extradition from the UK for some time. Those on the "right" of politics tend to believe he should just give up the fight and go to Sweden where he is wanted for alleged sex crimes. Those deemed by some in the UK to be "left wing liberals" have supported Assange's attempts to avoid extradition.
The case of Julian Assange is complicated. His fear appears to be that from Sweden he could be easily extradited to the US where he is wanted in connection with his online Wiki leaks cables. Viewed by those in the US administration as an enemy of the State his fate in the US is hard to guess. However in a worse case scenario he could face the death penalty. He could also face an extended spell in Gitmo, the notorious Guantanamo prison, whilst he awaits his trial and his fate.
As June 2012 drew to an end Mr Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and there he has stayed. Those who had posted bail lost a great deal of money. People so minded however still tend to support Mr Assange. Matters came to a head yesterday when UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said that he could send in officers to remove Mr Assange from the Embassy. Whilst he quoted a forgotten law to explain the reasoning behind this, feathers were soon flying.
Today, August 16, 2012 the Government in Ecuador responded with a statement. It quite rightly viewed such a posible entry into an embassy as a violation. Consider what Hague would say should such an intrusion occur in a British Embassy abroad and it is easy to agree with them.
Protesters were outside of the embassy this morning as Mr Assange's immediate fate was decided. In the end the Ecuadorian government have granted him asylum. Diplomatic relations between Ecuador and the UK have plumetted. The two countries are now fixed in a stand off. If Mr Assange leaves the building he will be immediately apprehended by British authorities. This of course means that an expensive and extended police presence around the embassy will be neceassry.
Whilst the UK maintains that their mission is simply to ensure that Assange faces justice for his alleged crimes in Sweden most people doubt that is true. The monumental effort that Great Britian is undertaking to make sure that Assange leaves the UK indicates a more sinister reason, that is extradition to the US.
A flurry of diplomatic activity will now see the Ecuadorian ambassdor in Sweden summoned to meet with authorities there. The matter is far from settled. Is the US administration pulling extradition strings to ultimately move Assange to the States? Yes it would seem that way.