Assange's mother says WikiLeaks founder under stress

QUITO Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:22am EDT

A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sits outside Ecuador's Embassy in London June 22, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall

A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sits outside Ecuador's Embassy in London June 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Neil Hall

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QUITO (Reuters) - The mother of Julian Assange, visiting Ecuador on Monday to plea for her son's asylum request, said the WikiLeaks founder is under extreme psychological stress and feels his only option is to seek safety in Ecuador.

Assange has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since June 19. The former computer hacker, who enraged Washington in 2010 when his WikiLeaks website published secret U.S. diplomatic cables, is wanted for questioning in Sweden over sex crime allegations.

The Australian anti-secrecy campaigner has broken his bail terms and requested asylum in Ecuador because he fears he could be bundled to the United States where his life would be at risk.

"He is freedom loving, he cannot run, he cannot go outside to see the sky, outside the UK police wait like dogs to take him ... he cannot exercise the way he normally could and he's under extreme psychological stress," Christine Assange said in a live interview with local television.

Julian Assange's mother was due to meet Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, on Monday to plea for her son's asylum request.

"I am not here to demand asylum, I come to humbly ask, as his mother," she said.

The Ecuadorean government has said that it will take as long as needed to make a thorough analysis of Assange's asylum application before making a decision.

Comments by Patino last week suggested that Ecuador will refrain from announcing a decision regarding Assange's asylum application until the end of the Olympic games as a sign of respect for the UK government.

Assange's mother said that her son chose Ecuador because its constitution enshrines human rights and because it does not have the death penalty.

She also referred to leftist President Rafael Correa as "very brave" and said she trusts that Correa will not allow his country's sovereignty to be manipulated by foreign interests.

Christine Assange said she fears that the United States will move to extradite her son if he is sent to Sweden.

Neither the U.S. nor Swedish authorities has charged Assange with anything. Swedish prosecutors want to question him about allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two WikiLeaks supporters in 2010.

Assange says he had consensual sex with the women.

(Editing by Vicki Allen)

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Comments (3)
elmescalito wrote:
Christine Assange is standing up not only for her own son, but for all who value democratic rights and government transparency. As she puts it, “We’ve all seen the Truman Show movie. It’s as if WikiLeaks has ripped back the roof cover on our Truman Show and we’re now seeing the puppet masters, the producer. The network is unhappy that the bit players have seen how the show is being produced, but it is too late because the Pandora’s Box is open…”
Hang in there, Julian!

Jul 30, 2012 1:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
QuidProQuo wrote:
Oh, well, some jobs are more stressful than others. He chose his line of work no one forced him into his career choice. I think he’s a scumbag and have no issues with him having a hard time dealing with the consequences of his actions. So be it. He asked for it, cocky jerk. You wanna play the kind of games he did, expect there to be rules of engagement.

Jul 30, 2012 4:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Brazilian1 wrote:
How will Ecuador get Assange out of UK?

Jul 30, 2012 5:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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