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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: 20:23 BST] Democracy Now! reported on the latest in Julian Assange's bid for asylum, with Ecuador's Ambassador to Britain, Anna Alban, returning to Ecuador to discuss his application. Ms Alban said the following:
We have offered him the ease to survive — food and access to some people that come to visit him. We are diligently providing him with the basics. This is what we have undertaken while this matter is worked out and a decision is made according to the Ecuadorian government’s position.
Watch the video clip below:
[UPDATE: 16:45 BST] Glenn Greenwald wrote a very detailed blog post in response to Twitter arguments against Julian Assange and his decision to seek asylum.
Latin American political analyst Thiago de Aragao and international law expert Professor Donald Rothwell were on Late Night Live Radio discussing Julian Assange's decision to see asylum and "Why Ecuador needs him".
Brisbane activist Ciaron O'Reilly was interviewed on ABC Radio about Julian Assange and his asylum application.
[UPDATE: 02:33 BST] A video has been uploaded of Robert Naiman hand delivering a letter to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London requesting Julian Assange be granted asylum. He hands over two petitions: one signed by prominent American supporters such as Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Danny Glover, Oliver Stone, Bill Maher, and Patch Adams, and a second signed by over 4,000 supporters. Read the letter here. The petition is still available to sign at the Just Foreign Policy website.
WL Central published an article entitled "Assange, Diplomacy, and Duplicity" which discusses the Washington Post's flip-flopping when discussing the U.S. threat against Julian Assange. Glenn Greenwald also commented on the same in the following tweet, mentioning The Guardian and the Wall Street Journal as well:
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 25, 2012
[UPDATE: 01:55 BST] Washington Post wrote on other prominent cases of people seeking asylum, listing Chen Guangcheng (2012), Manuel Noriega (1989), Fang Lizhi (1989), Edward Lee Howard (1986), Cubans in Havana (1980), Svetlana Stalin (1966), and Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty (1956).
[UPDATE: 2012-06-26 01:35 BST] Ecuador lawyers are currently studying the political and legal ramifications of granting asylum to Julian Assange. An estimated date of the decision is yet to be made available.
Otto Reich, who served as a senior official in the Bush Jr., Bush Sr., and Reagan administrations, wrote an Op-Ed stating that the U.S. should not sign any new trade agreements with Ecuador were they to accept Julian Assange into political asylum. In the article he labels Mr Assange as an "accused sex-criminal" and vehemently attacks Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.
Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy, says that many Americans support Julian Assange, referencing a letter signed by supporters requesting that Ecuador take him into asylum. Listen to his interview in the video below:
Daily Beast/Newsweek named Julian Assange as #1 in its Power Index on Revolutionaries. The blurb about him reads:
The Australian who turned a precocious hacking habit into an activist crusade for freedom of information founded WikiLeaks in 2006. Julian Assange and his site rose to prominence with the release of classified documents revealing government corruption, civilian casualties in the Iraq and Afghan wars, and the full text of Sarah Palin’s emails. The organization’s most recent coup: publishing internal emails from global intelligence firm Stratfor. For his part, Assange remains holed up in Ecuador to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he’s accused of sexual misconduct. He launched a talk show in April.
An article in OpEdNews by former FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley reminds readers that Julian Assange was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in 2010. Sam Adams associates delivered a letter to the Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington requesting that Julian Assange be granted asylum.