United Kingdom-Sweden: Outrage as Ecuador grants asylum to Assange
17 August 2012
Dagens Nyheter, The Times
The decision by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to grant political asylum to Assange has aroused strong reactions in the Swedish and British press. The UK is committed to extradite the founder of WikiLeaks to Sweden, where he is suspected of rape and sexual assault. Assange has been taking refuge in the South American country's London embassy since June 19 to avoid being extradited, having exhausted all avenues of appeal to escape the warrant issued by Stockholm in 2010.
The Times describes the offer of political asylum in Ecuador as “hypocritical”, given the treatment of journalists in Ecuador, while suggesting that the notion of revoking the diplomatic status of the embassy “would not be a proportionate way of dealing" with Assange.
According to the most recent report on press freedom published by Freedom House, Ecuador suffers from a 'culture of intimidation of journalists, which is partly the result of Correa's animosity towards the media'.
“Justice must take its course”, states Dagens Nyheter, which lambasts the claim that the Swedish court would not guarantee Assange's right to a fair trial. The Swedish daily believes that –
The very negative image of Swedish justice that has been broadcast around the whole world has no merit. Sweden is a constitutional state and the investigation of Assange is following this principle.
The newspaper concedes, however, that the Swedish government's representatives “could have acted more thoughtfully.” The Minister of Social Affairs, for example, has called Assange a “kräk” (worm).
Meanwhile, notes Dagens Nyheter –
In practice, Assange is likely to stay put at the embassy, which means that justice is being prevented from running its course and the rights of the two women are being sidelined.