Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said Tuesday that if the U.K. were to enter its embassy in London to ferret out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, it would amount to “suicide.”
Assange was granted asylum to Ecuador last week, but the U.K. said it would not allow him to leave the country. He has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy for roughly the last two months after a British court said he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over alleged sexual misconduct.
“It would be suicide for the U.K. to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy. It will be a bad precedent. It would allow U.K. embassies to be violated around the world,” Correa said on state television, reported the Daily Telegraph.
Last week, the U.K. threatened to enter the embassy and arrest Assange, who has alleged that if he were extradited to Sweden, it would eventually lead to him being sent to the U.S. because his WikiLeaks website released hundreds of thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables that angered Washington.
Some Ecuadorians believe that Correa is using the diplomatic impasse as a way to bolster his political status domestically and regionally.
Correa has jailed, prosecuted, or forced the firing of journalists, editors, and others who have been critical of him. Independent television stations have also been shut down after new laws were passed.
“I think Correa is fooling the world. He uses very wisely the media to present himself as a leader that respects and promotes free press which is not true,” former television personality Jorge Ortiz told Sky News. His channel was forced out of business by the government.
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