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Ecuador's plea over Assange's asylum

Monday, June 17, 2013 - 02:04

June 17 - Talks between Britain and Ecuador have ended with no breakthrough over Julian Assange, nearly a year after the WikiLeaks founder fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden. Hayley Platt reports

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You'd think they were best friends. But the relationship between Julian Assange and Ecuador's Foreign Minister is far more complicated. It's a year since the Wikileak's founder sought asylum in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex assault charges, which he denies. Ecuador is willing to give Assange refuge - but he faces arrest by UK police if he leaves the embassy. Ricardo Patino has been discussing the issue with the UK's Foreign Minister but there was no break-through. SOUNDBITE: Ricardo Patino, Ecuador's Foreign Minister, saying (Spanish): "The Ecuadorian government will continue to ensure that he continues with the protection we have given him under asylem in our country. Protecting his life, his personal integrity and particularly his freedom of expression." The increasing cost of embassy security to the UK's taxpayers is becoming an issue too. Estimates put the bill for the eight months to February at almost £3 million. SOUNDBITE: Julian Assange, saying (English): "The staff at the embassy have all been kind and supportive, despite the occasional entertainment outside, whether they are people chanting or policemen coming down on ropes." Wikileaks made headlines around the world in 2010 after publishing information which was sensitive to the US government. Ecuador accepts Assange's argument that America may attempt to extradict him to the States if he ends up in Sweden. And in America he could face the death penalty. Jim Curran from the Irish Civil Rights Association supports Assange. SOUNDBITE (English) CHAIRMAN OF THE IRISH CIVIL RIGHTS ASSOCIATION, JIM CURRAN, SAYING: "I believe that it is important for people to know what governments are doing especially when they are doing it secretly when they're saying one thing in public and practicing another thing in private." Ministers have agreed to set up a working group to try and resolve the standoff. But for now the man who to many stands for truth and freedom will be staying put.

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Ecuador's plea over Assange's asylum

Monday, June 17, 2013 - 02:04