Ecuador’s FM – Ricardo Patino – comments on Sweden, UK, re Assange

This is ONLY a pro tem English translation of a report of an interview with the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister – Ricardo Patino – conducted after the prescription of three of the four Swedish allegations on 13th August 2015 was followed by an extraordinary statement from the British FCO.

This is taken from three online translations and is not a direct translation so may well contain inaccuracies. All corrections very welcome. See also this and this

Pro tem translation of comments by Ricardo Patino – FM of Ecuador – on Assange, Sweden & UK

Quito-

Ecuador considered today “contradictory” the statements of the British Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hugo Swire, who said that the Ecuadorian Government must recognize that its decision to grant asylum to the founder of WikiLeaks – Julian Assange – in its Embassy in London prevented “the proper course of justice”.

“There’s really a contradiction in terms in what they say”, said the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patiño.

The statements of the British Government, which also announced it will send a formal protest to Ecuador for granting the asylum, took place on Thursday after the Swedish prosecutor closed a part of the allegations weighing on Assange, having prescribed the offences of sexual harassment allegedly committed in 2010. Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in June 2012.

As to that, Patino said today that he has not seen “the complaint, still”, but that he has only heard (secondhand?) “the intervention of the British Foreign Office”.

The Minister said that since the first day that Ecuador gave sanctuary to Assange in June 2012, they told the Government of Sweden that Ecuador was “ready and willing to facilitate the conditions” so that statements would be taken from the founder of WikiLeaks on the cases in which it was involved.

“Sweden never did it,” said the Chancellor in an interview with radio Sonorama, adding: “but now, with, as it were, minutes to go and in great haste, they suddenly tell us they want to enter to take the statements”. Patiño wondered why now Sweden were agreeing to take the statements yet had not done so before.

The Chancellor said that this looks like “discriminatory treatment against a citizen, like Julian Assange, – seemingly they never really wanted the statement”, but sought to go through the motions so as to not prescribe the case.

“This is what we are having to stand against,” without even mentioning “what the British Government has done”.

“We do not understand the harassment of our Embassy, as if we were attempting some illegality in the Julián Assange case”, said Patino.

On Thursday, it was reported that the Swedish public prosecutor closed the accusations weighing on Assange of molestation and unlawful coercion, while the most serious, rape ‘less serious category’, will continue until August 17, 2020.

Sweden has not submitted formal charges against the allegations re Assange, since it is obliged by law to interrogate the suspect beforehand.

The founder of Wikileaks has repeatedly refused to go to Sweden to answer questions on the grounds that there was a danger of extradition to United States, where he believes that he could be convicted and receive the death penalty for having leaked classified information from that country. EFE

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