End the Diplomatic Standoff in London: Urge Swedish Officials to Question Julian Assange Within Ecuador’s Embassy

Target: Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Chief Prosecutor Eva Finne

Goal: To persuade Swedish officials to agree to conduct their desired interview with Mr. Assange inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

There is a simple way to end the current diplomatic spat between Ecuador, Sweden, and Britain regarding the extradition of Julian Assange: Swedish officials must conduct their inquiry over Mr. Assange’s alleged sexual misconduct within the confines of Ecuador’s embassy. A formal request to arrange such a meeting has been made repeatedly by the Ecuadorian officials in London; however, Swedish authorities have refused the offer without any explanation as to why. Combine that with the fact that both Britain and Sweden have also refused to guarantee Mr. Assange will not be extradited to the United States once in Sweden, and one can see why many feel there may be a greater agenda at work here. If the Swedish officials who are seeking to question Assange would simply agree to do so within Ecuador’s embassy it would potentially thwart any eventual plans the United States has to extradite and wrongfully prosecute a foreign national for violating US laws.

On June 24th of this year, Julian Assange gave an interview to the Sydney Morning Herald in which he stated that he is prepared to be extradited to Sweden on the condition that he will not thereafter be extradited to the United States. So far Britain and Sweden have been unwilling to provide any such guarantee. If the Swedish officials involved in Assange’s case are indeed seeking to get to the bottom of his alleged sexual misconduct they now have an opportunity to prove it in front of the whole world. Ecuador’s embassy officials have made it known that they have made more than one attempt to arrange an interview at their embassy between Mr. Assange and his Swedish investigators. In each instance the Swedish authorities refused without an explanation. With tensions mounting between all parties involved, something must be done quickly before the situation can grow more chaotic.

According to Ecuador’s embassy, Britain’s officials have threatened to invoke a domestic law (Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987) that they feel gives them legal grounds to storm the embassy and arrest Assange. As a direct consequence members of the Organization of American States (OAS) have agreed to hold a meeting this week to discuss how they will respond to Britain’s threat, which Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño called ‘a blatant disregard’ for basic diplomatic provisions set forth by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The already volatile situation continues to escalate as officials from Ecuador and the United Kingdom continue to hold their ground regarding Assange’s extradition. If Sweden’s foreign minister and chief prosecutor would agree to Ecuador’s offer and question Assange within Ecuador’s London embassy it would diffuse what should be the core of this whole issue: do the allegations of sexual misconduct against Assange have any merit? If not, then this diplomatic fiasco instantly goes away. The United States would then either have to leave Assange alone, or reveal they that were after him all along by finally pursuing him publicly. Please help put an end this situation by forcing the Swedish officials involved to agree to Ecuador’s offer and question Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Foreign Minister Bildt, Chief Prosecutor Finne,

We urge you to reconsider the offer made by the Ecuadorian Embassy to allow you to carry out your interrogation of Mr. Assange within the premises of their London facility. As you are no doubt aware this situation is volatile to say the least, and has potentially far-reaching political and diplomatic implications. If the situation is allowed to escalate further, it could rend the very fabric of good will and cooperation that Britain, Sweden, and Ecuador have maintained for many years. We understand this request is unusual, but we also know it is not without precedent. The ability to quickly diffuse what is increasingly becoming an international relations nightmare lies solely with you. We simply ask that you carry out what you have been charged with: finding out if there is any validity to the allegations against Mr. Assange. The opportunity to do so has presented itself and you need to take it. The world might not ever be the same if you don’t.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit:  Thierry Ehrmann via Flickr

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