YOURLifeChoices member KFCHugo has posted on our Meeting Place about the apparent heavy-handed actions of the British Government to secure the hand-over of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Has the British Government overstepped the mark?
I am again bemused to see in the news that the UK Government has issued a written demand to the Ecuadorian Government to surrender Assange. The document (apparently) also contained a threat to “storm the embassy” if it fails to do so.
All this over a guy who, to date, has not been officially charged with a crime. He is wanted for questioning about incidents that quite probably wouldn’t even be considered crimes in most other countries. I understand that Assange and the Ecuadorian embassy staff have invited the authorities to interview Assange in the embassy and ask any questions they like.
It is increasingly difficult to label Assange as “paranoid” given all the time, effort and expense that is being put into getting him into custody and out of the UK, over what are quite trivial crimes in the grand scheme of things.
Opinion – What’s our Government doing to assist?
Julian Assange is wanted by the Swedish authorities for questioning over alleged sex crimes, which are shrouded in mystery. Mr Assange is alleged to have had consensual unprotected sex with two women, which constitutes statutory rape. However, Julian Assange remained in Sweden for two months after the alleged offences and the women were not forthcoming during this time. Only when he went to London and the whole Wikileaks saga unfolded, did the alleged offence come to light.
If you believe what Julian Assange says, then he is not afraid to return to Sweden to face the charges of rape and sexual assault which have been levied against him. He is, however, afraid that his stay in Sweden will be short-lived and he will be passed on to US authorities who would dearly love to see this man ‘brought to justice’, especially in the run-up to the Presidential election.
So, in an attempt to save himself from political persecution, this Australian Citizen bypassed his own government and pleaded for asylum at the door of the Ecuadorian Embassy. The granting of this asylum has sparked an unprecedented response from the British Government, which is threatening to rescind the diplomatic status of the embassy and storm the complex to arrest Assange. The Australian Government, on the other hand, has contacted the Ecuadorian Embassy to “check on his welfare and offer him consular assistance”.
Given that our criminal justice system is founded on the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, surely the Australian Government should be offering to protect one of its citizens? Surely it should be standing up to the British and US governments by providing a safe haven for this Australian to be questioned about the alleged crime, without fear of ending up in a facility similar Guantanamo Bay indefinitely (a la David Hicks)? Instead it has left the protection of an Australian citizen to a little-known Latin American country, with which Assange has no ties.
Does having an Australian passport mean so little that when you get into trouble overseas, you do not feel safe turning up at the door of the Australian Embassy? Is it purely the political pressure surrounding Assange which is making the Australian Government reticent to act on his behalf?
Read more about how the Ecuadorian Government has come to Assange’s rescue at TheAge.com.au.