According to this article Ecuador considers inviting a third-party mediator to tackle its long-standing disagreement with Britain over the fate of Julian Assange:

The foreign minister said the situation was "unsustainable".

The Wikileaks founder has been confined to the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, claiming political asylum.

Julian Assange's stay in Ecuador's embassy was long and quite complicated, involving several countries: Sweden, US and UK (source).

Clearly this situation created some unpleasant discussions between Ecuador and other countries involved, by not allowing Julian Assange to face the charges.

Question: Why did Ecuador protect Julian Assange for such a long time?

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    This answer (to a different question) apparently answers this question, too. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 16:39
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    I bet you they're asking that question too...
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 0:23

3 Answers 3


Ecuador doesn't have much to gain by Julian Assange's continued presence in the embassy but it would severely damage their reputation internationally if they reneged on their offer of asylum and expelled him. Indeed, they have recently granted him citizenship, which only increases their moral obligations to him.

I don't believe that they imagined the stand-off would last this long, and expect they would be only too glad to see him to leave voluntarily. However, whilst the UK government remain happy to wait it out, they don't have much of an option.

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    Not much of an option without totally losing face. Or maybe there is a law in Ecuador that they can't withdraw asylum once granted.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 15:01
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    I believe that granting him citizenship was the first step in their brilliant plan of making him a diplomat. Unfortunately the UK straight up refused to accept his credentials.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 0:27

Assange has been subject to illegal detention. Even a UN panel has decided in his favour (see here)

The same question could be asked when asylum is offered to a Chinese by the US or other countries: they are trying to defend the civil rights of this person.

Assange has not been formally charged with anything ever, but the US has never denied rumours of having a sealed indictment against him. In addition, the US has always refused to give an assurance it will not try to extradite Assange (where he could be sent to Guantanamo). Assange has many time offered to surrender to UK authorities if the US gave such assurance.

Therefore, Ecuador is protecting Julian Assange civil rights.

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    But the question is "what does Ecuador get out of all this"? Embassy asylum is not a common process. They wouldn't bother for any common political refugee, so why do they for Assange?
    – Philipp
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 16:12
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    Asylum is a common process for many countries. Assange is in the embassy because the UK is refusing safe passage. The real question is not what Ecuador is getting out of this, but what the UK is getting out of this, since they wasted millions, lost a UN panel review, threatened to invade an embassy, etc. That is the real question
    – user19087
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 16:18
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    As I said, embassy asylum is the only choice for Ecuador, but it is because of the UK, it wasn't Ecuador choice. Ecuador has tried everything to get Assange out of the embassy and into Ecuador (of which country he is now a citizen) even by giving him diplomatic immunity that the UK refused. As for why the UK is using so many resources I know that is not the question, in fact I just mentioned that in a comment, not in my answer
    – user19087
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 16:45
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    "Assange has been subject to illegal detention. Even a UN panel has decided in his favour" - As Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate) Emma Arbuthnot said Case No: 1800196207, Ruling No. 2, where Assange sought to have the arrest warrant withdrawn, "The [the United Nations’ Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention] appears to have based its conclusions on some misunderstandings of what occurred after Mr Assange’s arrest." bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2018/B2.html The dissenting opinion in the Working Group's opinion says similarly.
    – Lag
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 15:42
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    "Assange has not been formally charged with anything ever" - as the High Court said in [2011] EWHC 2849 (Admin) Case No: C0/1925/2011, re differences in procedure, "If the commencement of criminal proceedings were to be viewed as dependent on whether a person had been charged, it would be to look at Swedish procedure through the narrowest of common law eyes. Looking at it through cosmopolitan eyes on this basis, criminal proceedings have commenced against Mr Assange. In our view therefore, Mr Assange fails on the facts on this issue." bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2011/2849.html
    – Lag
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 15:45

Given the long history of the USA in meddling with the affairs of South America, mainly to their detriment (I expect they were playing divide and conquer), it's not suprising that Ecuador gave Julian Assange sanctuary. He was only evicted after a right-wing and neoliberal regime more sympathetic to the USA came to power.

To get an insight into this meddling one could look at some of the many books that Noam Chomsky, the renowned linguist and political theorist, has written on the subject.

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