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article imageOp-Ed: What's left for Julian Assange?

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By Emma Burge     Aug 17, 2012 in Politics
On Thursday, Ecuador granted Julian Assange diplomatic asylum. With the UK authorities still determined to ship Assange out to Sweden, many are wondering just how the Wikileaks founder plans to escape the embassy without getting himself arrested.
While staying up until the wee hours of Thursday morning to watch the Occupy News Network’s live Ustream outside of the London Embassy where Assange has been holed up for around two months, many ideas were thrown around as to how Julian should escape. Ideas ranged from as crazy as dressing him in drag or dying his hair orange and dressing like David Bowie, to conspiracy theories that Assange was already in Ecuador or that he was far away in some other random country. However, several more plausible ideas are being thrown around.
One idea that has been said is that Ecuador could put Assange in a diplomatic bag and smuggle him out of the embassy. This idea though was tried in 1984 when Nigeria tried to kidnap one of their former Prime Ministers that took residency in England. The attempt did not work and it certainly would not work with Assange as there is almost a guarantee that British Authorities would check any large diplomatic bag that leaves the Embassy (even if it violates the Vienna Convention). Another thought is that Ecuador may appoint Assange as a diplomat, possibly a representative for the United Nations to ensure him diplomatic immunity. The problem with this plan is that Britain would have to accept his appointment as a fulfillment of a diplomatic function. Basically British authorities will get to choose whether or not they feel accepting him as a diplomat and based upon their decisions thus far, one can only guess that they would swiftly deny his status.
Friday morning President Correa announced that "Mr. Assange can stay indefinitely in our embassy". Based on that statement, it can only be assumed that Ecuador plans on keeping Julian there as long as it takes to get the UK and Sweden off their backs. Unfortunately for Assange, it doesn’t seem like either country is backing down. In the meantime, Assange is staying in the quaint ten room embassy where he occupies a small office that has been set up with a bed, Internet, and a phone. Julian’s mother Christine told AP that when friends visit him they "turn the music on and encourage him to dance with them." This extensive 18 month legal battle seems to be taking a toll on Assange as his mother has repeatedly expressed concerns over his health saying "He is under a lot of stress and it's been long-term stress now for nearly two years and in conditions which are similar to detention.” His stay at the embassy has been far more stressful and crammed than his previous residence at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, England where he spent time on house arrest at the 600 acre estate.
It seems as though only time will tell as to how Assange and the three countries involved will solve this diplomatic conundrum. Until then we have to wait and provide our best guesses for the situation.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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