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Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was accused of sexual abuse during his visit to Stockholm earlier this year. He spent a few months under home arrest; however, the Swedish government insisted that Assange’s case needs a substantial investigation and demanded his immediate extradition to Sweden.
On August 26, 2012, the 41-year-old Assange was given a political asylum by Ecuador and is currently staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Britain cannot take any legal actions against the former hacker-activist because the inrush in the consulate of the South American country and the arrest of Julian Assange will be regarded as violation of the international laws. Although the Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa called the British intention to storm the five-storey building of the embassy a “monumental diplomatic mistake”, the UK government declared that it will not allow Julian Assange to flee the country.
According to Correa, Julian Assange “never refused to face justice in Sweden.” However, the founder of WikiLeaks and the leader of the South American country fear that there is a political reason behind the extradition of Assange.
“I think there is a hidden plan to send Assange to a third country. What other conclusion could you reach?” declared Correa.
The US is said to be the secret force that pulls the wires of Assange’s case. In 2010, Assange’s non-profit organization WikiLeaks began the release of more than 250,000 classified cables, sent by embassies and consulates from all over the world to the U.S. State Department in the period from 1966 to 2010. Immediately after the documents were published, government organizations in the USA, China, Australia, UAE and Switzerland, as well as some financial institutions such as PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard, blocked their WikiLeak’s accounts. However, the protectors of Assange referred to him as defender of freedom of information and speech.
The release of the classified cables opened a wide wound between Ecuador and the States. As a result, the former US ambassador in Ecuador, Heather Hodges, was extradited from the South American country on accounts of accusing President Correa of “ignoring police corruption.” The US government struck back, and the Ecuadorian ambassador was also forced to resign his position.
Meanwhile, Washington denied the rumors that the US is involved in any political machinations against the Australian freedom seeker. However, a lot of questions about Assange’s case remain unanswered.
Who is Baltazar Garzon and why exactly does he represent Julian Assange in the court?
Baltazar Garzon is a former Spanist judge, famous for his uncompromising and aggressive attitude in the court, especially on cases concerning international human rights. He is responsible for the arrest of the former President of Chile, General Augusto Pinochet, in 1998 on account of torturing and causing the death of Spanish citizens in both Chile and Argentina. It was the first case in which a head of state was detained, although no serious measures were taken.
Recently, Garzon was accused of cooperating with the Falange, the Spanish political followers of the Fascist movement in Italy. That’s why some analytists assume that Assange’s case is mainly on a political basis.
Concerning the situation of the Australian founder of WikiLeaks, Garzon declared that Ecuador should address the International Court of Justice in the Hague to force the British government to allow Assange to leave the South American country.
What are Correa’s real intentions?
The Ecuadorean President is renowned for his tempestuous and rigid foreign and domestic politics. His decision to help Julian Assange was both condemned and appreciated by the international public.
“Correa has managed to antagonize the UK, Sweden, and the US at the same time. Once again he has stomped his way to central stage,” the John Hopkins University professor Riordan Roeff said in an interview.
However, specialists are inclined to believe that behind the plans of Correa to save the founder of WikiLeaks from his extradition to Sweden and and then probably to the US, stands a political rather than a humane reason.
Recently, it has been revealed that Correa and Assange “met” personally via Skype in May 2012, when the founder of WikiLeaks was still serving his home arrest. Right then, Correa wanted Assange to understand that for him he is not an international criminal, but an “emblem of ultimate freedom of expression.”
Andrés Mejía Acosta, an Ecuadorian political scientist, proposed another hypothesis about Correa’s reason to give a political asylum to Assange. In an interview, he revealed “the gesture to Assange may be a way for Correa to cleanse his reputation as a persecutor of the press.”
Years ago, an Ecuadorian newspaper called Correa a “dictator” and accused him of violation of human rights. The author of the article, Emilio Palacio, was arrested and the newspaper forced to pay a fine measuring $40,000,000 in charge of “criminal libel” against an authority.
Earlier this year, Palacio, who has been living in Miami since he was set free, was officially excused by the Ecuadorean President. That’s why many specialists assume that Correa is now trying to represent himself in a more favorable light.
On the other hand, the storm between Ecuador and the US will not subside soon. Whether Assange is the weapon of their mutual revenge – nobody is able to comment at this stage.
Indeed, the majority of the analysts asume that Correan’s decision to offer Assange a helping hand is his next step for broadening his leadership position on the international political firmament.
Will Assange receive the support of the rest of the South American world, and what will be the fate of the WikiLeak’s founder?
On August 19, 2012, Assange gave his first public speech from one of the balconies of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, after the South American country granted him political asylum. Watched by hundreds of police officers, he thanked Rafael Correa for the rendered assistance and addressed the White House with the request to “renounce its witch hunt against WikiLeaks.”
Washington assured Assange that his fate is in the hands of Britain, Sweden and Ecuador.
Although in his speech Assange cogently declared that the countries from Central and South America support him, Brazil and Columbia issued that they did not agree with Correa’s decision to give a political asylum to the 41-year-old Assange.
The foreign ministers of South America’s 12 nation union gathered in Guayaquil, Ecuador last Sunday to discuss the case and to convince the White House to take a stance on the issue. However, no one can make an exact prognosis about what will be the next step in the case of Julian Assange and what’s more controversial - who will make it.
Image Courtesy of acidpolly