Ecuador accuses UK of ‘violating Assange’s human rights’

Ecuador has accused the UK of violating Julian Assange’s human rights by refusing to allow the WikiLeaks founder to take shelter in South America, which granted him political asylum nearly a year ago.

“By not granting him safe passage they are violating the human
rights of a citizen, and every day that passes the effects of
that violation hurt the person more and more,”
Foreign
Minister Ricardo Patino told Reuters.

The Australian has been stranded at Ecuadorian embassy in London
for almost 12 months. It was reported that Assange had developed
a chronic lung condition “which could get worse at any moment.”
In November Assange’s lawyer warned that the 41-year-old’s health
could deteriorate if he remains confined much longer. He requires
constant medical attention at his refuge in the embassy.

“It’s a whole year that this gentleman has spent without
feeling the sun and that’s really serious … because this
decision has been taken by a state that says it protects human
rights.”



According to Patino, Ecuador is working on a document which
allegedly proves that the UK is legally ‘obliged’ to allow
Assange to leave the embassy and travel to South America, Reuters
reported. Patino hopes to broker an agreement over Assange’s fate
with the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague in “a matter of weeks
or months.”

A British court ordered that Assange be extradited to Sweden,
where authorities want to question him on sex-related
allegations. The whistleblower has refused to travel there unless
Sweden guarantees that it won’t extradite him to the US, where he
faces espionage charges over confidential data released by
WikiLeaks.

Ecuador has given Assange asylum and houses him in a small
basement room in its London embassy as UK law enforcement keeps a
close eye on the embassy, keen to arrest Assange the minute he
leaves the diplomatically-protected building.

The cost of the surveillance, which reportedly involves two
police vehicles and eight officers on duty 24/7 is said to be
over $16,500 a day, Scotland Yard reported. Surveillance
operation has already cost British taxpayers over $5 million
since Assange took refuge on June 19, 2012. By the time of the
one-year anniversary, the sum is expected to reach over $6.3
million.

Ecuador fears that Assange’s deportation to Sweden is part of the
US government plan to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to America,
where he would be charged over the website’s release of secret
diplomatic files.

This article originally appeared on: RT