QUITO — Ecuador recalled its ambassador to Britain to discuss what to do about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has sought refuge in their diplomatic mission in London.
“We are calling our ambassador back for consultations because this is a very serious matter,” President Rafael Correa said on Friday.
Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy on Tuesday and asked Quito to give him political asylum as he seeks to avoid extradition to Sweden on allegations of rape, fearing Stockholm will turn him over to the United States.
WikiLeaks enraged Washington by releasing a flood of classified US information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables that embarrassed a slew of governments.
“We are going to proceed cautiously, responsibly and seriously in this case, without bowing to absolutely any pressure,” Correa said.
The Ecuadorian envoy, Ana Alban, met with British authorities on Wednesday, and Correa said they had had a “very courteous communication with the English government on their point of view.
“We will take it into account, but Ecuador will make the final decision” on whether to grant Assange’s request,” he added.
The former computer hacker told Australia’s ABC radio Friday of his fears that he would end up in the hands of the United States, which he says wants to try him for divulging US secrets.
But he conceded there was no current US indictment against him.
“Of course not, at the moment the matter is before the grand jury,” he told ABC. “Until it comes out of the grand jury there will not be such evidence afforded.”
Photo of Julian Assange via AFP