Julian Assange has taken refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy.
I thought that was a strange move, but thanks to Jack Of London I can see why Assange tried to escape the long arm of the law.
The judgement which allows his extradition makes clear that his actions would have constituted rape in Britain, as well as Sweden.
The judgement, which can be viewed as a PDF, is damning in particular paragraphs 121 to 127.
The original Magistrates’ Court ruled that such conduct “would amount to rape.”
From the evidence of the judgements I would agree.
No wonder Assange is trying to learn Spanish pronto!
(H/T: David Allen Green)
Update 1: At the New Statesman, David Allen Green’s short article is generating debate.
Update 2: The Guardian provides good live coverage of Assange’s goings-on.
Update 3: Esther Addley and Beatrice Woolf give a fair summary of events:
“The audacious bid came less than a week after the supreme court finally rejected his appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in connection with accusations of the rape of one woman and sexual assault on another in August 2010, which he denies.
Assange and his supporters have argued that his removal to Sweden could be followed by a possible onward extradition to the US on potential espionage charges, saying he is at risk of the death penalty.
The US government opened a grand jury investigation in May 2011 into the passing of hundreds of thousands of secret US embassy cables to WikiLeaks, the first stage in a process of deciding whether or not to prosecute Assange. No request for extradition to the US has been made, however.
In a statement on its site, WikiLeaks said that in a meeting with Assange’s legal adviser in May, the Australian government had issued “an effective ‘declaration of abandonment’, refusing to protect Mr Assange, or make any requests on his behalf”.
Assange had been given until 28 June to lodge an appeal against the UK court’s decision at the European court of human rights in Strasbourg. Some legal commentators have doubted whether Assange would have strong grounds to take his appeal to the court in Strasbourg.
He may have decided on his dramatic switch in tactics having been discouraged about his chances of success in Europe’s highest court. Assange is currently on £240,000 police bail, a sum posted by a number of high-profile friends and supporters. Last month Assange interviewed the socialist Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa for his TV show The World Tomorrow, broadcast on the Russian state-sponsored channel Russia Today. The WikiLeaks founder described Correa as “a leftwing populist who has changed the face of Ecuador”.
It was unclear whether any explicit or informal offer of asylum had been made by the president during the interview, though the country’s deputy foreign minister said in 2010 that Ecuador would offer him residency without conditions. “
Update 4: Not obvious, but worth pondering, Ecuador’s free speech record at the Guardian.
Update 5: This is good, Julian the Asylum Seeker.
Update 6: The BBC’s World Have Your Say covers the issue too.