31 May 2013

Britain accused of violating Assange's human rights

12:15 pm on 31 May 2013

Ecuador's president Rafael Correa has accused Britain of violating human rights by not allowing Julian Assange to leave its London embassy, despite being granted asylum by Ecuador.

Mr Assange, who founded the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, has been holed up in the embassy for nearly a year, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning in a sexual assault case.

The Australian has denied any wrongdoing, and has said he fears that if he is extradited, he will be sent on to the United States, where he could face espionage charges for publishing a trove of classified documents, AFP reports.

Mr Correa says Britain is applying a double standard, because any country behaving this way towards someone granted asylum in Britain or the United States would be harshly criticised.

Mr Assange, a harsh critic of US foreign policy, rose to fame after his website released hundreds of thousands of secret military logs from Iraq and Afghanistan and classified State Department cables.

Two women accuse him of rape and sexual assault in 2010, when he was in Stockholm on WikiLeaks business. He claims the accusations are part of a smear campaign to discredit his whistleblowing website.