After months of mayhem, Julian Assange, the founder of the whistle blowing website Wikileaks has finally been granted asylum by Ecuador. Assange has been staying at the Ecuador embassy since June 19th. But the problems have not ended for former Australian hacker, as before taking advantage of his new political asylum he has one big problem to overcome-getting to Ecuador.
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Britain has already warned that it will not allow safe exit to Julian. According to Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague, "We will not allow Mr Assange safe passage out of the United Kingdom, nor is there any legal basis for us to do so,'' he said.
It is important to recall here that Assange took refuge in Ecuador embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he needs to be questioned over allegations that he sexually assaulted two women.
Ecuador has demanded United Nations to plan a safe passage for Assange to South America. In the light of all these events where diplomatic rows are intensifying, there are theories floating that highlight the ways through which Assange can overcome these logistical difficulties.
Here are some of them:
Get into a diplomatic Car:
Once in a diplomatic vehicle, the British police would be entitled under British and international law to stop the vehicle, but they are not authorized to search it. However, the problem remains that the moment Assange steps out from the Ecuadorean embassy he will be arrested by British police officials already surrounding the embassy premises.
Becoming a diplomat:
According to one of his supporters, the Ecuadorean government should designate Assange with a diplomatic position and post. This way they can rely on his diplomatic immunity granted by international law to ensure a safe exit.
Sadly, for Assange it is up to the British government whether it accepts his diplomatic credentials and this is very unlikely to occur in this case.
Hiding in a diplomatic bag:
Embassies are authorized to the use of ‘diplomatic bags’ through which documents and other goods are transported from the embassy premises. These bags are very clearly marked cannot be ‘opened or detained’ and hence in some cases they have been used for some unusual transportation also.
In 1984 a former Nigerian transport minister kidnapped in London was sent back to the country in a large crate designated as diplomatic baggage. However, due to incorrect labeling on the crate British officials opened it and rescued the minister.
Could something similar be repeated in the case of Assange? It will be safe to assume that any such baggage will be scrutinized very closely by the police.
Indefinite stay in Ecuador Embassy:
This isn’t something unheard of. Roman Catholic Cardinal József Mindszenty lived in the U.S. embassy in Budapest for 15 years, until 1971, to escape treason conviction. With the use of this option Assange will be provided humanitarian protection, but he will be confined to the premises of the embassy.
In current circumstances it seems that staying in the Ecuador embassy in London would be the safest options for Assange. The stay will continue until a deal is chalked out on the use of this pawn in the diplomatic chess game being played by Swede, Ecuador, UK and US.