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WikiLeaks announced via Twitter on the evening of June 19 (19:40 local time) that Julian Assange has requested political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
This comes after the UK Supreme Court refused a submission to reopen his case on June 14. Julian Assange has spent 560 days under house arrest without charge. His extradition to Sweden is set between June 28 and July 7.
Mr Assange will remain at the embassy under the protection of the Ecuadorian government while they process his request.
In his statement to the Diplomatic Mission of Ecuador, Julian Assange commented on his abandonment by his home country, Australia, as well as the threat of the death penalty in the U.S.
Ecuador offered political asylum to Julian Assange in November 2010. At that time, Vice Chancellor Kintto Lucas stated, "We are open to grant him Ecuadorian residency, without any kind of problem or any kind of conditions." (President Rafeal Correa afterwards stated the offer was not official.)
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was a guest on Julian Assange's talk show "The World Tomorrow" this past May. The full interview is available online in English, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and Arabic.
Updates will be added as they become available.
[UPDATE: 14:05 BST] Christine Assange gave an interview with WSWS about her son's decision to seek asylum.
Some people have said he is trying to run away, but they [the authorities] have backed him into a corner where he has nowhere else to go.
Julian is the only person in these proceedings who has followed the law. Everybody else has been either breaching protocols or procedures. The Supreme Court was so focused on getting him over there [to Sweden] that it actually said he had been charged, when in fact, as everybody knows, there are only allegations. It also brought in new information into an appeal court, which is unheard of.
Dangerous precedents are being set all the time because of US pressure on other people’s governments, and that’s what happened with the Australian Extradition Act.
Julian’s asylum application is great. He has gone through all the court procedures but had his legal and human rights abused, and the Australian government has abandoned him. US politicians and commentators have called for him to be assassinated, and the government is trying to get him on any charge it can. According to the UN special rapporteur on torture, Bradley Manning has been tortured. The US is trying to get him to such a degraded state that he will falsely implicate Julian.
There are the emails from Stratfor, which reveal that there is an existing, sealed Grand Jury indictment on Julian, so he has every reason to fear for his life.
Read the full interview here.
Mr Assange's application has sparked discussion about how he could get from the Ecuadorian Embassy to the airport if he is granted asylum.
[UPDATE: 13:30 BST] A member of the Swedish Division for Criminal Cases and International Judicial Cooperation stated that Sweden is unable to offer guarantees that Julian Assange will not be extradited to the U.S.
Christine Assange gave an exclusive interview with Voice of Russia. She discusses the deliberate media smears against Julian, how he has offered to be questioned for two years about the Swedish allegations, his asylum application, and how he is doing at the Ecuadorian Embassy. Listen to the full interview here.
[UPDATE: 2012-06-25 01:12 BST] Oscar Swartz, author of "A Brief History of Swedish Sex", commented on Julian Assange's decision to seek asylum, saying he isn't worried about the allegations in Sweden, rather his potential onward extradition to the U.S. Watch his appearance on RT below:
A "Twibbon" has been created for people to add to their Twitter avatars in support of Julian Assange.