Brits Say They Will Not Let Julian Assange Leave The Country

It looks like Julian Assange will have to get used to the Ecuadorean Embassy:

The UK has insisted it will not grant Julian Assange “safe passage” to Ecuador as it seeks a diplomatic solution to him being given asylum.

Downing Street said the government was obliged to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden where he faces questioning over sex assault claims, which he denies.

The Wikileaks founder has been staying at Ecuador’s London Embassy since June.

South American nations have pledged support for Ecuador after the UK said it could legally enter the building.

The Supreme Court in May dismissed Mr Assange’s bid to reopen his appeal against extradition and gave him a two-week grace period before extradition proceedings could start.

“We hope that we can reach a diplomatic solution and we are doing what we can to achieve that,” Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokesman said.

“Under our law, having exhausted all the options of appeal, we are obliged to extradite him to Sweden. It is our intention to carry out that obligation.

“We will continue talking to the Ecuadorean government and others to try to find a diplomatic solution.”

I continue to doubt that the Brits would actually breach the sanctity of the embassy, but they may well attempt to engage in a psychological campaign to drive Assange out akin to what the United States military did when Manuel Noriega took refuge in the Vatican Embassy after the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. PJ says:

    And remember, this is all about Sweden just wanting to question Assange…

  2. Lynda says:

    I think Dan Drezner has the right take

    @dandrezner: RE: Assange: isn’t obvious diplomatic strategy to wait him out? Theres a 100% chance he’ll piss off the embassy within a yr.

  3. The Q says:

    Hmmmm, didn’t spain request the extradition of Pinochet while in British hands for certain crimes against Spanish citizens? And the Brit response was the same as Equador’s? They refused to turn over Pinochet?

    I guess the Brits are indeed America’s little poodle.

  4. Dazedandconfused says:

    @The Q:

    I don’t see any reason the Brits should approve of what he did with his Wikileaks, and the Swedes and they have a long standings agreement on fugitives.

    “Poodles” they have been at times, but really doubt fear of the US is motivating them on this one.

  5. bill says:

    but lot’s of innocent people hide out in foreign embassies……what’s the bfd?

  6. al-Ameda says:

    I don’t know, a sexual assault charge seems serious to me.

    Why Assange is viewed as a hero is beyond me.He is nothing of the sort.

    By way of comparison and a reasonable analogy, at least Daniel Ellsberg (who disclosed then national secrets concerning the war in Vietnam) ) faced the music, went through a legal process. Assange is quite the sleazy operator.