MADRID – The uproar surrounding Ecuador’s grant of political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has obscured huge inconsistencies. Only by examining them can we understand what is truly at stake in the case.
For starters, a government with a dubious record on freedom in general, and press freedom in particular, is waving the flag of rule of law and respect for freedom of expression while casting doubt on Sweden, a country that leads the world in its respect for due process and international law.
That is not all. The head of Assange’s legal team, Baltasar Garzón, has been a fervid champion of the narrowest interpretation of political asylum, gaining international standing with his successful petition to extradite Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Now, however, he is advocating exactly the opposite.
Assange’s rejection of extradition to Sweden for questioning on allegations of sexual assault is based on the supposed interference in the case by the United States. But no such interference has materialized in any way, shape, or form. So, while Ecuador waves the banner of anti-colonialism against Britain, the bottom line is that Assange, Garzón, and Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa are simply playing the old “blame America” card to evade a properly issued European Arrest Warrant (EAW), upheld by the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court.