Democracy Now! on Assange's Ecuador asylum bid
From Democracy Now!
"His choices were terrible," Michael Ratner, a member of Julian Assange's legal team, told Democracy Now! on June 20. "The extradition to Sweden [was] really not about the allegations in Sweden [of sexual assault]. I think if the United States tomorrow said, 'We will not be prosecuting WikiLeaks or Julian Assange, there will be no indictment of him, the grand jury is over,' etc., etc., I don’t think Julian Assange ... would have any issue about going to Sweden for interrogation on these charges.
"What this is about is the United States wanting to get their hands on him, put him into an underground cell with no communications, giving him life imprisonment. And, of course, people have already called for his death in the United States.
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has taken refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London and asked for asylum. Assange made the move on June 19 in a last-ditch bid to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex crime accusations. On June 20, police in London announced Assange is now subject to arrest because his decision to spend the night at the Ecuadorian embassy violated the conditions of his bail. Assange is seeking asylum because he fears extradition to Sweden may lead to his transfer to the United States, where he could potentially face charges relating to WikiLeaks.
"In my view, it is a situation of political persecution of Julian Assange for his political activities," says Ratner, a member of Assange’s legal team. "It does fit within the asylum application procedure under the Declaration of Human Rights." In an apparent reference to the United States, an Ecuadorian official said Assange fears being extradited "to a country where espionage and treason are punished with the death penalty."