Assange's fate in Ecuador's hands as he defies police request to surrender

 

Julian Assange has vowed to remain in the Ecuadorian embassy and has refused a request by the Metropolitan Police to give himself up.

A representative for the WikiLeaks founder said today that his legal team had advised him to “decline to comply” with an order which requested that the Australian-born campaigner visited a police station in Belgravia this morning.

Doing so would have meant imminent arrest because Mr Assange has broken his bail conditions. He is wanted by Sweden for questioning over the alleged rape of two women in the summer of 2010.

His final appeals were exhausted earlier this month but he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy last week and claimed asylum.

Speaking to reporters today, Susan Benn, a representative of the Julian Assange Defence Fund, said fleeing to the embassy was “a difficult decision” but one that was made necessary by the fear that the United States was trying to bring to their own prosecution against Mr Assange.

She added that the WikiLeaks founder was “in good spirits” and was “grateful for the support shown to him by the people of Ecuador and so many others from around the world”.

Mr Assange has insisted that his decision to seek asylum is not motivated by the case against him in Sweden. Instead he fears that he would be unable to claim asylum if the United States initiated their own proceedings while in Sweden because prosecutors in Stockholm have vowed to hold him on remand because he is deemed a flight risk.

“Once in Sweden under such grave restrictions it would be impossible for Mr Assange to exercise his asylum rights,” Miss Benn said.

Mr Assange’s fate now rests in the hands of Ecuador’s left-leaning popular president Rafael Correa.

He has made sympathetic statements about Mr Assange but his government has not rushed into making any decision on whether asylum will be granted. Even if it is, Mr Assange would be able to leave the UK only with the permission of the British authorities, leading to the prospect of Mr Assange spending months – and possibly years – holed up in the tiny embassy.

Suggested Topics
News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor