US rejects ‘diplomatic asylum’ for Assange

Posted on August 17, 2012

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WASHINGTON — The United States said Friday that it did not believe in “diplomatic asylum” after Ecuador offered to let WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stay indefinitely in its embassy in London.

Ecuador has turned to the Organization of American States, which met Thursday and Friday in Washington, after deciding to offer asylum to the Internet activist who is wanted in Sweden on sexual assault allegations.

Under a 1954 agreement, the Organization of American States agreed to allow asylum in diplomatic missions for “persons being sought for political reasons,” although not individuals indicted for “common offenses.”

“The United States is not a party to the 1954 OAS Convention on Diplomatic Asylum and does not recognize the concept of diplomatic asylum as a matter of international law,” the State Department said in a statement.

“We believe this is a bilateral issue between Ecuador and the United Kingdom and that the OAS has no role to play in this matter,” it said.

Supporters of Assange believe that the 41-year-old Australian is at risk of extradition to the United States after angering authorities by publishing a trove of sensitive diplomatic cables.

AFP

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