The Ecuadorian State spent more than USD 5 million in a security and protection system for the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has remained in asylum since 2012.
This was confirmed to newspaper El Comercio, Íñigo Salvador Crespo, Attorney General of the State. Ecuador also disbursed USD 1 million in maintenance during the time in which the asylum lasted.
Six officials of the diplomatic corps work at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, located on 3 Hans Crescent Street. In this property, Assange occupies 41% of the space. That is why, in the opinion of the Ecuadorian authorities, it was necessary to regulate Assange’s actions, since the spaces to which he has access are not consolidated in a single area and must circulate constantly while the diplomats work.
Other key documents that the Foreign Ministry delivered to Baltazar Garzón, defense leader of Assange, and to the founder of WikiLeaks, were the letters sent by the Ministers of International Affairs of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. Newspaper El Comercio had partial access to these letters, where Britain responds that it will not extradite Assange to a third country where he can be sentenced with the death penalty.
In that communication, Ecuador “considers that the aforementioned note constitutes an important guarantee of the British Government, since it contains a specific reference to Assange”.
In the same letters, the United Kingdom reiterates that as soon as Assange leaves the Embassy, he will be arrested for violating the British rules on bail and probation. Once arrested, he would be transferred to a court that could impose a penalty of up to six months in prison and / or a fine.
“It can be a sentence of deprivation of liberty for six months or less. Or it can be a penalty that is only a fine, “said Salvador. The letter emphasizes that it does not have a valid extradition order, since the Swedish justice filed the case for alleged rape in May 2017, but the Australian is required to violate his parole in the United Kingdom.
The fear of Assange and his defense is to be extradited or deported to the United States, a country on which he divulged state secrets in his WikiLeaaks portal. The special protocol of visits and communications is still in force, after the protection action filed by Assange’s defense was denied, to render it null and void.
Carlos Poveda, Assange’s lawyer in Ecuador, revealed that they had already filed an appeal against the ruling issued by Judge Karina Martínez, who rejected the protection action against the State, considering it inadmissible. With the appeal of the sentence, the Provincial Court of Pichincha will review the decision of the Judge of first instance.
The Ombudsman pointed out that since no precautionary measures were requested to suspend the protocol, the document is fully in force. In the protocol prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it was determined that Assange must undergo mandatory medical examinations every three months.
On August 24, the Ecuadorian authorities notified Assange and his defense that they should abide by the regulations. Even the Australian provided the names of his trusted doctors. “When the protocol was presented, he did not object,” said the Attorney General.
With this measure, the State fulfills two objectives: to guarantee the health of Assange and to be exempt from responsibilities, in the face of any detriment that the Australian may suffer. For Carlos Poveda, the protocol would violate Assange’s rights, since, if he does not follow the rules, he could lose his status as an asylee.
Poveda insists that the advisory opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Inter-American Court of Human Rights), issued last July, recognizes diplomatic asylum as a human right and maintains that host states must adopt adequate protection measures, including those against arbitrary detention. “The State has international responsibility for the issue of the protection of Assange,” says Poveda.
The Australian, on the other hand, assures that the entry into force of the protocol responds to “power pressures” that were compromised after the disclosure of secret documents in WikiLeaks.
However, the Foreign Ministry, through a statement, rejected these accusations and issued a new warning. “Ecuador will demand from the asylee respect for the sovereignty and good name of the country, and will not allow gratuitous affirmations or innuendos that lack the truth about the conduct of the National Government,” the statement reads. (I)