HAVANA TIMES — Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño reiterated today his country’s providing asylum to Julian Assange, founder of the website Wikileaks, while insisting that the British authorities grant him safe conduct to leave the United Kingdom, reported DPA news.
A Foreign Ministry statement was released after the visit by Patiño with Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Sunday.
The dialogue between Assange and Patiño was marked by “the increasing threats against freedom of people to communicate and to learn the truth, threats from certain states, which have placed the whole of humanity under suspicion,” notes Patino at the end of the meeting.
The interview took place on the premises of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, while hundreds of people gathered outside in solidarity with Assange, says the statement.
“I was able for the first time to tell him face to face, that the government of Ecuador maintains a firm commitment to protect human rights, and we continue to seek the strongest safeguards against his extradition to a third state,” said Patiño.
On Monday Patiño is set to meet with his British counterpart, William Hague, and will provide him with a document including the legal grounds for granting safe-conduct to the Australian journalist,” said the Foreign Ministry.
The June 19, 2012 Julian Assange entered Ecuador’s embassy in the British capital for protection to his life. After welcome him, Ecuador decided to give Assange diplomatic asylum in August 2012.
Assange believes he could be extradited from Sweden, where he faces prosecution for alleged sexual offenses, to the US, and there be judged and given the death penalty.
The Wikileaks website released in 2010 thousands of secret documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Australian, 41, has a warrant throughout the European Union (EU). Although Ecuador has given asylum, if he leaves the embassy he will be arrested.
The surveillance of the embassy has already cost British taxpayers 3.8 million pounds (4.5 million euros), reported today the “Sunday Times”, which refers to the London police.
Patino has criticized the heavy police presence. The delegation, he told the Times, has become a prison.
The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister plans to speak with Hague on reducing police presence, according to the newspaper. “We will not get (Assange) out without anyone noticing,” said the diplomat.