French Sec. of State Would Consider Asylum for Julian Assange

Asked yesterday about Assange's arrest, Trump said at the White House: "It's not my thing".

USA prosecutors say Assange faces five years in prison if convicted of "conspiracy to commit computer intrusion", though further charges are expected to be brought against him. This could mean the end for press freedom.

Australian-born Assange, 47, also faces a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in the United States for his alleged role in one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets in 2010. But Judge Napolitano said that the extradition process to the USA may take years, as the United Kingdom faces legal issues of its own.

The American charges that Assange faces relate to WikiLeaks' publication of documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, using files leaked by Chelsea Manning.

But while Ecuador had undoubtedly exhausted of its London house guest, the motivations for stripping Assange of his asylum and allowing in officers of the Metropolitan Police are likely to have been more complex. At the time, Assange was wanted for questioning in connection to a sexual assault investigation in Sweden, where he lived, but Assange feared that once in custody, he might be extradited to the United States, where the US Justice Department had reportedly investigated him and even allegedly had a sealed indictment for him, although that specific detail has never been proven.

The Assange prosecution "would be unprecedented and unconstitutional and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations", the ACLU's Ben Wizner tells Sullivan.

Assange denied the claims. In line with standard operating procedure in Swedish courtrooms, he was not formally charged. Rather, it simply accuses Assange of trying to help Manning log into the Defense Department's computers using a different user name so that she could maintain her anonymity while downloading documents in the public interest and then furnish them to WikiLeaks to publish.

Correa told CNN Thursday that the decision by his successor to revoke Assange's asylum status was "the biggest betrayal perhaps in Latin American history".

In June 2012, with his legal avenues exhausted, Assange finally faced extradition to Sweden.

USA prosecutors say Assange was part of a criminal conspiracy to hack and steal information harmful to the United States.

In a presentation before the Ecuadorian parliament on Thursday, foreign minister José Valencia listed as many as nine reasons why Assange's asylum had been lifted, the most prominent being his organization's meddling in worldwide affairs. David Allen Green, a British legal commentator who has tracked the allegations against Assange for years, wrote on Twitter that the Swedish request would probably be given precedence "because of historic request and pending limitation period".

  • Anthony Vega