Should Ecuador grant asylum to Julian Assange

Amnesty International

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Petition: Together for Julian Assange

A London court has rejected the US extradition request. But the US will contest the verdict. We continue to demand that the US authorities drop all charges against Julian Assange that relate to his work with Wikileaks.

Julian Assange: a look back

Julian Assange's story from founding Wikileaks to embassy asylum, detention and the extradition hearing in London.


WikiLeaks is founded by Assange.


WikiLeaks publishes the manual of procedures for Camp Delta, the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay.


On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released a video showing a US military helicopter that shot at and killed two journalists and several Iraqi civilians in 2007. From July to October, the Wikileaks exposure platform publishes around 470,000 classified documents relating to US diplomatic activities and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another 250,000 documents will be added later.

In November, the Swedish public prosecutor obtained an international arrest warrant against Assange. He is accused of rape and sexual violence against two women. Assange denies the allegations and faces the police in London shortly thereafter. Until a decision on an extradition request from Sweden is made, he will be released on bail.


In February, a British court granted the Swedish extradition request. Assange expresses concern: he fears that Sweden could extradite him to the USA, where he faces trial and possibly even the death penalty because of the leaked documents. In April, WikiLeaks begins publishing classified military documents detailing the treatment of prisoners at the US Navy detention center in Guantanamo Bay.


The UK Supreme Court denied Assange's appeal against extradition to Sweden in May, but gave him two weeks to appeal. Julian Assange fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June and successfully applied for political asylum. Ecuador unsuccessfully asks the British government for permission to fly Assange to Quito.


Swedish investigators fail with their request to question Assange in the London embassy. A group of experts from the UN Human Rights Council came to the conclusion that Assange was "arbitrarily detained" in the embassy building. Both countries reject the non-binding decision.

In July, in the middle of the US presidential election, Wikileaks published around 20,000 emails from the Democratic party apparatus. They come from the campaign team of candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Election observers suspect that the publication of these emails likely influenced the election result in favor of Donald Trump.


After the pardon of Chelsea Manning, a major Wikileaks source,
Wikileaks explains that Assange could face an investigation in the US if his rights were guaranteed. Meanwhile, the prosecutor in Sweden is suspending the investigation against Assange. The British police want to keep arresting him for violating his bail conditions. Assange receives Ecuadorian citizenship, but the government in Quito fails with its request to apply for diplomatic status for Assange with the British authorities. That would have enabled him to leave the embassy building without being arrested.


Ecuador says it is looking for a mediator to end Assange's "untenable" situation. An application to withdraw the arrest warrant for health reasons fails. In March, the embassy staff cut Assange's communications access because he interfered in other countries' affairs. A Wikileaks attorney describes Assange's living conditions as "inhuman". In October, Ecuador imposed new rules of conduct on Assange and warned that violating the guidelines could lead to withdrawal of asylum. Meanwhile, a document emerges in the United States that Assange has apparently been secretly charged.


Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno said that Assange had "repeatedly violated" the conditions for his embassy asylum. British police arrested Assange on April 11 after his asylum was withdrawn.


Assange's extradition hearing will start in London on February 24, 2020. Amnesty is closely monitoring the extradition hearing for Julian Assange.


On January 4th, a judge in London came to the conclusion that Julian Assange's extradition was unlawful. She referred to the poor mental health of Assange and the threat to his health from the COVID-19 pandemic, which is particularly bad in Great Britain.

Amnesty International welcomes the fact that Julian Assange is not extradited to the US and that the court recognizes that due to his health in the US prison system, he is at risk of ill-treatment. But the charges against him should not have been brought in the first place. The allegations were politically motivated and the UK government should not have been so willingly supportive of the US government in the relentless persecution of Assange.

On January 6th, the competent court decided not to release Julian Assange on bail. Assange is returned to his solitary cell in a maximum security prison.