2012-08-02 Christine Assange Meets The President Of Ecuador

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa yesterday met with the mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Quito's Palacio Carondelet.

"Please feel at home," said President Correa to Mrs Assange. "Rest assured that Ecuador is studying the case of Julian Assange very seriously. This country does not negotiate its sovereignty."

"If WikiLeaks had revealed things about Ecuador that benefit the major powers," he said, "Julian Assange would have been declared a hero."

"Don't worry, we will know how to make a decision with absolute independence and sovereignty," said the President, who was previously interviewed by Assange on his TV show, The World Tomorrow.

"Thanks to God we do not have anything to hide. We are the same in public and in private. They can publish what they want. We governments who have nothing to hide help publish whatever may come. We support true freedom of expression."

President Correa said the book Wiki Media Leaks had helped his government "decipher what the Ecuadorian press had hidden".

The President then invited Mrs Assange out onto the palace balcony, to witness popular support.

"You are a very good dictator," joked Mrs Assange, referring to Western media and opposition criticism of Correa's government. "I've walked through the streets and I see people smiling and happy."

Christine Assange thanked the government of Ecuador for their hospitality, noting that the small South American nation respected human rights and gave her a sense of freedom she didn't feel in other countries.

Afterwards, Christine Assange tweeted that President Correa was "kind, warm, intelligent, informed, humorous, strong, and high spirited. I see why the people love him."

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño lamented Sweden's decision not to interview Julian Assange in Ecuador's London embassy. Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson also noted that the WikiLeaks EiC had never received an adequate explanation from Sweden as to why they haven't questioned him in the UK.

And Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, who is travelling to Ecuador to meet Mrs Assange, has criticized the lengthy, secretive US Grand Jury process.

"A democratic country can't operate with its back to a person who is suspected of very serious crimes that could deprive him of liberty for a long time," Garzon told reporters. "The United States should make it known what it is doing, so that Mr. Assange can stand up for his rights."