Thursday, August 16, 2012
Live blog from London on Julian Assange asylum in Ecuadorian embassy
by Larry Geller
The overnight granting of asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has not only opened discussion on the United State’s human rights record, but also now the record of Ecuador itself.
See the Guardian (UK) live blog of events at the embassy here. For example, this:
Human rights groups have criticised Ecuador's record of human rights after its foreign affairs minister, Ricardo Patino, said Assange had been granted asylum due to fears that his human rights might be violated.
Padraig Reidy, news editor of Index on Censorship, which campaigns for freedom of expression around the globe, said Ecuador has been "more than willing to use the law to pursue opposition voices."
Reidy said a case last year in which the head of the comment section of one of the Ecuador's largest daily newspapers – El Universo – and three of the publication's board of directors were jailed over an article that described the president as a dictator and accused him of ordering his forces to open fire on a hospital (they were later pardoned following widespread criticism), showed the country was not above using criminal laws to silence a free press.
Once again, Julian Assange is responsible for opening up a dialogue that would not have come to public attention were it not for his actions.
On Twitter, one hashtag to follow is #Assange.