U.K. May Strip Diplomatic Status Of Ecuador's Embassy In Order To Arrest Julian Assange
UPDATE: 8:59am - Aug-16-2012
Ecuador has granted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange political asylum according to Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño.
Meanwhile British authorities say they will not grant safe passage out of Britain from the Ecuadorian Embassy.
London, U.K. -
British officials at the UK Foreign Office have said they may strip the Ecuadorian Embassy of diplomatic status so that it can fulfill its "legal obligation" and arrest Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
British courts have ordered Assange's extradition over sexual assault charges in Sweden and Assange took refuge in Ecuador's Embassy in June to avoid what Assange supporters call a politically motivated decision. Assange has requested political asylum and the Ecuadorian Embassy has said it will consider his request later.
Under international diplomatic conventions, an Embassy is legally sovereign soil of the country of that Embassy and can not be entered by authorities of the host country, hence British officials want to remove diplomatic status temporarily.
Mr Assange says he fears that if extradited to Sweden, he will then be passed him on to the American authorities.
In response to this development, Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino: ''We are not a colony of Britain'' adding that removing diplomatic status temporarily just to carry out an arrest effectively means there is and never was diplomatic status if Britain can add and remove at will and defeats the point of diplomatic status and the international conventions that govern them.
After Assange lost his appeal in Britain's Supreme Court, he was to turn himself in to police to be extradited, but instead sought refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy while still out on bail.
All of this is in response to a letter delivered by the British Embassy in Ecuador. "Today we received from the United Kingdom an express threat, in writing, that they might storm our embassy in London if we don't hand over Julian Assange," he said.
"Ecuador rejects in the most emphatic terms the explicit threat of the British official communication."