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Ecuador reaffirms support for Assange following failed appeal

English.news.cn   2014-07-17 07:51:49

QUITO, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian Foreign Affairs Minister Ricardo Patino on Wednesday reaffirmed his country's support for embattled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, after he lost his appeal to have his Swedish arrest order overturned.

Patino said Ecuador will continue to protect the rights of Assange, who has been trapped inside the country's embassy in London for two years.

"The government of Ecuador will not abandon its commitment to safeguard the human rights of Julian Assange until he arrives at a safe place," Patino said via Twitter.

Assange had been granted political asylum by Ecuador, but is unable to leave the embassy due to an arrest warrant issued by a Swedish court for his alleged role in two sexual assault cases. He denies the charges and claims they are politically motivated.

Patino's comment came after a Swedish court struck down an appeal by Assange's lawyers and ruled to uphold the arrest order.

The Swedish court insists the British should arrest the anti- secrecy activist and extradite him to Sweden for questioning, but Assange fears the real objective is to hand him over to authorities in the U.S., where the government would try him for crimes against the state for revealing confidential documents.

His lawyers argue that Swedish legal officials could interview him outside Sweden, in keeping with standard legal procedure, but they have refused.

Patino said the court's decision was "bad news for the human rights of Assange," and reiterated Ecuador's offer to allow Swedish officials to question him at the London embassy.

"Ecuador wants to cooperate with Swedish justice," said Patino. "Get Julian Assange's statement at the embassy or via videoconferencing, no more delays."

The minister also questioned why Britain and Sweden were both dragging their feet in the matter, instead of trying to find a swift diplomatic solution to the stalemate.

"Two years is a long time, it's time to promptly resolve the case against Julian Assange and guarantee respect for his human rights," said Patino.

Assange's lawyers have said they will appeal the decision to a higher court.

Editor: An
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