Ecuador has granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said Thursday.
The UK, meanwhile, has said it will not grant safe passage out of the country to Assange, who has been holed up inside Ecuador's embassy in London.
Assange has been holed up at the embassy since petitioning for asylum in June. He is seeking to avoid being sent to Sweden over claims of rape and sexual molestation, and said he fears that if extradited, Swedish authorities could hand him over to the United States.
Assange was arrested in Britain in 2010 because Swedish authorities wanted to question him about the allegations. Two women have accused Assange of sexually assaulting them during an August 2010 visit to Sweden in connection with a WikiLeaks release of internal U.S. military documents. Assange denies the allegations and argues they are retribution for his organization's disclosure of American secrets.FULL STORY
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8:00 am ET (est.) - Julian Assange learns asylum fate - Ecuador is expected to announce whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be given asylum in the South American country.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be arrested if he comes out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he is seeking asylum, a Metropolitan Police representative at the scene said Thursday, without giving his name.
Assange was arrested in Britain in 2010 because Swedish authorities want to question him about allegations of rape and sexual molestation. His bail conditions included staying every night at the home of a supporter outside of London.
Two women have accused Assange of sexually assaulting them during an August 2010 visit to Sweden in connection with a WikiLeaks release of internal U.S. military documents. He was arrested in Britain that December and has been fighting extradition ever since, arguing the allegations are retribution for his organization's disclosure of American secrets.
Assange's only further legal recourse would be to apply immediately to the European Court of Human Rights, and his attorneys have vowed to do so. He has said he fears that if he is extradited to Sweden, authorities there could hand him over to the United States, where he then could be prosecuted for his role in the leaking of classified documents.
Assange has not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him about allegations of "unlawful coercion and sexual misconduct including rape," according to a Supreme Court document. Ecuador said its decision to consider Assange's asylum request "should in no way be interpreted as the government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden."
WikiLeaks, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, has published some 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, causing embarrassment to the government and others. It also has published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents relating to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has formally requested asylum in Ecuador, the country's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said.
Patino, speaking at a press conference in Quito, Ecuador, read from a statement that Assange was currently at Ecuador's embassy in London, England, where he formally requested asylum. Patino read a statement to reporters at a news conference in Quito. He took no questions.
The request comes after the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on Thursday dismissed an application filed by an attorney for the WikiLeaks founder who was seeking to reopen his appeal against extradition to Sweden.
The application was Assange's last option in the British courts. Britain's Crown Prosecution Service has previously said if the court dismissed Assange's appeal, his only further remedy is to apply immediately to the European Court of Human Rights, and Assange's attorneys have vowed to do so.
The appeal itself would be a rarity, as the court's decisions are supposed to be final in Britain.
Assange has been fighting for a year and a half against being sent to Sweden for questioning about accusations of sexual abuse. Two women accused him in August 2010 of sexually assaulting them during a visit to Sweden in connection with a WikiLeaks release of internal U.S. military documents.
WikiLeaks' work is not at issue in the extradition matter or the Swedish allegations against Assange.
Assange has not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him about allegations of "unlawful coercion and sexual misconduct including rape," according to a Supreme Court document.FULL STORY
The Ecuadorian president is calling for sanctions against Britain for its long-running dispute with Argentina over who owns the Falkland Islands.
President Rafael Correa urged tougher measures, accusing Britain of refusing to negotiate with Argentina about the disputed archipelago that has sparked diplomatic wrangling between the two nations for decades.
"It is time that Latin America decides on sanctions against that misplaced power that intends to be imperial and colonialist in the 21 Century," Correa said at a meeting of the ALBA bloc on Saturday. "I believe that we should go to things stronger."
ALBA, or Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, is made up of various nations, including Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and Bolivia.
Argentina and Britain went to war over the archipelago in 1982, and their leaders have exchanged bitter war of words in recent weeks, reviving memories of the conflict.
The dispute escalated recently after Prince William, a Royal air force pilot, was deployed to the islands Argentina calls Islas Malvinas.FULL STORY
An Ecuadorian appeals court upheld an $8.6 billion ruling against oil giant Chevron stemming from claims that the company had a detrimental impact on Amazonian communities where it operated.
The judgment against Chevron is the latest in 19 years of litigation between Amazon residents and Texaco, which was later purchased by Chevron.
A three-judge panel handed down the ruling Tuesday, nearly a year after receiving the case, the state-run Andes news agency reported.
In addition, the appeals court ruled that Chevron must publicly apologize to Ecuador, and if it fails to do so, the fine will be doubled to nearly $18 billion, Andes reported.
In a statement, Chevron said the appeals court ruling "is another glaring example of the politicization and corruption of Ecuador's judiciary that has plagued this fraudulent case from the start."FULL STORY
Authorities in Ecuador closed schools and evacuated residents in areas near the Tungurahua Volcano on Tuesday after the volcano spewed ashes that fell on homes and farms, state media reported.
Ashes from Tungurahua rose more than 7 kilometers (4 miles) into the air Tuesday, the government news agency said. The glacier-capped, 16,478-foot (5,023-meter) volcano has erupted periodically since 1999.
The Ecuadorian government on Tuesday declared the U.S. ambassador in their country, Heather Hodges, persona non grata and asked her to leave Ecuador as soon as possible, the state-run Andes news agency reported. The decision was based on a State Department cable leaked by WikiLeaks.
State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said the expulsion of the US ambassador to Ecuador was "unjustified."
The two remaining miners trapped underground in Ecuador since part of a
mine collapsed last week have been found dead, the president of the mine said
Angel Vera and Pedro Mendos had been trapped since last Friday, mine president Juan Cando Pacheco said.
Four miners have been trapped in an incident at a mine in southern
Ecuador, a government official said Friday.
Ecuador has extended a state of emergency imposed in the capital after the president was attacked by police in a day of protests that paralyzed the country in September.
Authorities extended the decree in Quito indefinitely Saturday, a day after it was scheduled to end. It mobilizes the military to be in charge of securing the country instead of the police.
The extension comes after President Rafael Correa was attacked by police on September 30. Troops rescued Correa in a dramatic shootout with officers at a hospital, where Correa said he was held for more than 10 hours. FULL STORY
The chief of the national police in Ecuador, Freddy Martinez, said Friday that he was resigning effectively immediately.
His departure comes a day after a chaotic uprising by police officers left President Rafael Correa trapped for several hours in a hospital. Troops loyal to the president arrived at the hospital and rescued him Thursday evening; two police officers were killed.
The police officers said they were angered by a new law that would take away their bonuses and reduce their compensation. The president, who was roughed up and hit by tear gas, said the law would do no such thing and said the police officers had not even read it.
Hours after the rescue, Correa repeated his claim that compensation issues were merely a pretext for police to kidnap him and try to overthrow his government.
"It was an attempt and a perfectly coordinated conspiracy," he said late Thursday.
Disturbances broke out Thursday on the streets of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, as national police protested the government's cancellation of bonuses and promotions, images on the official Ecuador TV showed.
The broadcast showed mobs on the streets and clouds of black smoke coming from burning tires.
Rank-and-file police took over their headquarters, Ecuador TV said.
"We work 14 hours a day," a uniformed officer said. "We are the ones who never protest."
Said another: "One hour without police. Let's see what happens."