Ricardo Patiño’s remarks about Assange case

18 August 2014

Transcript of remarks by Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño at press conference held at Ecuadorian Embassy in London this morning.

See also Julian Assange’s remarks at the same press conference and this article by Patiño in the Guardian.

[First remarks missing]

On the other hand there have been a series of reforms in the British legal framework on extradition.

With these reforms, the current legal framework in this country in principle would prevent the extradition of people who have not been formally charged by a judge and this is of course the case with Julian Assange. These reforms were enacted in 2014.

Let us recall that at the time several judges in the British supreme court spoke out against the extradition of Julian Assange precisely because no judge had accused him formally of anything.

It is a fact that with the recent legal reforms it is likely that the British Authorities would have rejected a request to extradite Assange to Sweden if it had been lodged today.

And Ecuador is currently studying the consequences of these recent changes on the issue at hand today.

In any case, we believe that these are relevant changes because they may facilitate greater understanding with the British government.

As you know we initially agreed on setting up a joint working group precisely a year ago.

However, as we were trying to define the scope of this working group, we found that the British side only wanted to engage with a legal [missed] not a political one.

And in a sense we would like to thank the London government for their good will in wanting to extend to us once again the legal framework in which they move.

However, we have understood it.

What matters now is trying to find where British and Ecuadorian law may overlap, the interface, so we can come up with political solutions to this impasse.

Much has changed over these last two years.

Although regrettably, the repeated rejections of the Swedish prosecutors to take advantage of the legal cooperation offered by Ecuador have not changed.

And the offer of legal cooperation extended by Ecuador was one that respected both the Ecuadorian legal framework and the Swedish and European ones.

And so, over these last two years, the effective legal protection of Julian Assange has been breached.

And over these last two years the two Swedish women who are accusing Julian Assange have not seen any progress in the investigation either.

These have been two lost years for everyone.

These have been two years of great uncertainty and lack of legal protection for everyone. There has not been justice for anyone.

The situation must come to an end.

Two years is simply too long.

It is time to free Julian Assange. It is time for his human rights to be finally respected.

We once again call on the international community, particularly on journalists, to join a much needed international campaign to guarantee freedom and human rights for Julian Assange.

And to conclude, we reiterate the position of the Ecuadorian government.

We uphold Julian Assange’s status as a political asylee.

We continue to offer him our protection.

And we continue to be ready to talk with the British government and the Swedish government in order to find a solution to this serious breach of Julian Assange’s human rights which has been ongoing now for two years.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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