Ecuador grants suspected rapist Julian Assange asylum. Good Move or Bad Move?
WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador on Thursday, setting up a standoff with the British government, which has vowed to block his exit from the country.
The announcement was made by the Ecuadorian foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño. He said that Ecuador was granting Assange political asylum because it believed he was being persecuted for his actions as the head of WikiLeaks.
"The Ecuador government, loyal to its tradition to protect those who seek refuge with us at our diplomatic missions, has decided to grant diplomatic asylum to Mr. Assange," he said. Applause greeted his announcement.
Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he fled to avoid extradition charges to Sweden. He is wanted there to face allegations of rape, but he fears that he will be swiftly transferred to the United States, where he says he could be prosecuted for leaking classified material through WikiLeaks. Sweden has denied that it has any such intentions.
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