On the face of it, Julian Assange’s bunk into the Equadorian Embassy in London is an odd one. If he was worried about Sweden extraditing him to the US, well Sweden’s extradition treaty with the US is more tightly written that the UK’s and would seem to provide less scope for doing so.
CNN’s Ashley Fantz has an interesting take on why he may have done it and what’s in it for both Assange and Equador:
Time was running out for Julian Assange. If the WikiLeaks frontman was going to make a move it would be soon.
Just days before Assangehad lost his final bid in Britain’s highest court to stop his extradition to Sweden for questioning about sexual assault allegations. The court had set a July 7 deadline.
Though the sexual misconduct case has nothing to do with WikiLeaks, some of his supporters believe that if Assange is sent to Sweden, he would be vulnerable to extradition to the United States. WikiLeaks published a trove of State Department cables and secret documents, some of them classified, about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Assange is not currently facing criminal charges in the U.S.
So where in the world should Assange turn for refuge? He picked Ecuador, which says it will consider his application for asylum.
“It’s a very smart move to go there. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa and Assange have mutual interests — they both support the idea that the U.S. is an imperial power that has to be checked,” said Robert Amsterdam, a Canadian international lawyer who’s worked high profile cases involving Latin America, Russia and Thailand. He said the information contained in the cables WikiLeaks released has helped in some of his cases.