The Ecuadoran government is prepared to grant asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Assange has been avoiding extradition with protection of the Embassy of Ecuador since June 19th. His extradition to Sweden was to take place ten days later, after Britain's High Court denied his appeal.
Assange has claimed that the extradition to Sweden for questioning on two sexual assault allegations were a cover to get him to the United States to be tried for treason.
The announcement of the decision to grant Assange political asylum in Ecuador was made by foreign minister Ricardo Pation in Quito. Patino said that Ecuador is convinced that Assange's right were violated and that Ecuador has no doubt in their minds that Assange would face cruel treatment and face life imprisonment and even death.
"It is not impossible that he would be treated in a cruel manner, condemned to life in prison, or even the death penalty. Ecuador is convinced that his procedural rights have been violated," Paquino said.
The UK Foreign Office said that it was disappointed by the Ecuador's decision and that it was committed to a negotiated solution under the "Extradition Act." The UK has threatened that it would arrest Assange when he leaves the embassy on Wednesday. This would set a new precedent, which protects diplomatic personnel. Surely it's not a road that the UK would want to go down.
Sweden also said that it found the asylum unacceptable.