Tomorrow, Julian Assange is invited to speak on human rights and diplomatic asylum, via weblink from his room in Knightsbridge, at a UN event for permanent representatives to the UN General Assembly.
From Live on RT, which is to broadcast the event:
Julian Assange will address permanent representatives to the UN General Assembly at a high-level talk on the legal and ethical legitimacy of diplomatic asylum. RT has exclusive rights to broadcast the event live from the UN headquarters in New York. [Note: this will be at 8:30pm in New York, so half an hour into Thursday morning in London.]
Among those joining Assange for the panel discussion at the 67th General Assembly Debate on Wednesday will be Ricardo Patino, Foreign Affairs Minister of Ecuador, and Baher Azmy, the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
On 18th August 2010, Julian Assange applied for a residence permit to live and work in Sweden, hoping to create a base for Wikileaks there, because of the country’s laws protecting whistle-blowers. Swedish law prohibits extradition for political crimes: Swden have repeatedly said that the ECHR would intervene if Assange were to be extradited to face inhuman or degrading treatment, such as Assange claims to fear in the US.
If Julian Assange were genuinely afraid of being extradited to the US more than anything else, he would have stayed in Sweden. He fled because he did not want to be questioned by the Swedish police about the allegations of rape made against him by two women in August 2010. He has spent two years trying not to go back to a country where he wanted to live and where he would be safe from being extradited – but where he might well spend up to six years in jail for rape, if the Swedish authorities decide to charge him and if he is convicted.
Government sources in Quito, Ecuador, confirmed today the President, Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado, intended to grant Julian Assange asylum in Ecuador. They also admitted that the offer of asylum was made to Assange several months ago – before he walked into the Ecuador embassy in Knightsbridge on 19th June, following “confidential negotiations” with senior staff at the embassy.