Yahoo wrote:Ecuador's foreign minister announced on Thursday that the country would grant asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, defying threats by the British government to storm the Ecuadorean embassy and extradite Assange to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in connection with alleged rape and sexual molestation cases.
"We have decided to grant political asylum to him," Ricardo Patino said at the end of a long televised statement from the Ecuadorean capital of Quito, where he criticized the U.S. and U.K. governments for failing to protect Assange from political persecution.
"The countries that have a right to protect Assange have failed him," Patino said. "[Assange] is victim of political persecution ... If Assange is extradited to U.S., he will not receive a fair trial."
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office called Ecuador's decision to grant Assange asylum "regrettable."
"British authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden," a spokesman for the office said. "We shall carry out that obligation. The Ecuadorian government's decision this afternoon does not change that."
Moments before the announcement, Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa tweeted: "No one is going to terrorize us!"
It's unclear what will happen to Assange now. U.K. authorities say his asylum is a violation of his probation--and there is reason to believe he would be arrested if he tried to leave the embassy. "Assange is going to Sweden," Louise Mensch, a conservative member of the British Parliament, tweeted. "We are going to extradite him there. That's it and that's all. #rape"
Assange fears if he was extradited to Sweden, he would immediately be extradited to the United States, which has condemned WikiLeaks' publication of classified documents. Assange and his supporters say the U.S. would charge him with espionage; the U.S. has not said whether or not it would pursue charges against him.
On Wednesday, Patino said he received a "clear and written" threat from British authorities who claimed "they could storm our embassy in London if Ecuador refuses to hand in Julian Assange."
So... is Britain really going to invade the Ecuadorian embassy for this guy? I mean, I know the US really really wants Assange, but should Britain really be engaging in an act of war on their behalf?