Ecuador election, 2013: On Feb. 17, that nation goes to the polls,
and current President Rafael Correa is thought to hold a wide lead.
Challenger Would Revoke Assange Asylum (El Comercio,
"We, if we
win the presidency, will take a serious look, with complete impartiality, and
review this decision, which was taken in haste, by the Ecuadorian government.
... There is an independent judiciary in Sweden, and justice isn't handled like
it is here in Ecuador."
-- Former Ecuador president and current candidate Lucio Gutierrez
Quito: Former President Lucio
Gutierrez, who seeks to return to the role of head of state after the February
17 election, said today that if he is elected, he could revoke the national asylum
granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
"We, if we win the presidency, will take a serious
look, with complete impartiality, and review this decision, which was taken in
haste, by the Ecuadorian government," he said at a press conference.
In June 2012, the 41-year-old Assange took refuge in the Ecuador
Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is suspected of
The former Australian hacker asserts the in fact, these
charges are a form of political persecution for WikiLeaks' disclosure of
thousands of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables.
Gutierrez said that if elected, he will see a "balance"
between the right to free expression, which Assange claims to defend, and the
rights of the two Swedish women who accuse him of abuse.
"Who is speaking for - who is defending the human
rights of these women?" said the Patriotic Society Party chief.
"There is an independent judiciary in Sweden, and
justice isn't handled like it is here in Ecuador," said the candidate, who
accused President Rafael Correa of having his way with the Andean country's
judicial system - which he denies.
Gutierrez also criticized the president's "double
standards," in granting asylum to Assange, while "pursuing"
Ecuadorian media for publishing information on the "blatant corruption of
On February 1, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño told Efe that Ecuador had received additional communications from
Britain on the Assange case, who he was studying, but that there was no
progress toward a possible solution.
The Australian can't leave the Ecuadorian Embassy,
because if he does he'll be arrested by British police guarding the building.
Ecuador has asked Britain for safe conduct to Assange can
leave the country freely, something that the David Cameron government has not
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