UK Threatens to Raid Embassy for Assange

Threat to revoke diplomatic immunity infuriates Ecuador
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2012 1:15 AM CDT
Updated Aug 16, 2012 5:31 AM CDT
Demonstrators step on a British flag during a protest outside the United Kingdom's embassy in Quito yesterday.   (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
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(Newser) – Ecuador has been enraged by what it sees as a British threat to storm its embassy in London and seize Julian Assange, who has been holed up there since mid-June. British authorities have warned Ecuador that it has the option of revoking the embassy's diplomatic immunity to fulfill its "legal obligation" to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to Sweden, reports the BBC. "We want to be very clear, we're not a British colony. The colonial times are over," Ecuador's foreign minister said, warning that any move on its embassy would be seen as "an unfriendly, hostile and intolerable act."

British authorities have "drawn the Ecuadoreans’ attention to relevant provisions of our law," a British government spokesman said, but the government is "still committed to reaching a mutually acceptable solution." Ecuador, which has said Assange is welcome to stay in its embassy indefinitely, plans to announce its decision on his asylum request this morning. But even if it is granted, Assange would have a hard time getting out of Britain without being arrested, Reuters notes. (Read more Ecuador stories.)

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