Julian Assange of WikiLeaks Seeks Asylum in Ecuador in Attempt to Avoid Extradition to U.S.
From the transcript, Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and attorney for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks:
MICHAEL RATNER: Well, I was completely surprised by it. In fact, I got a tweet from—or, no, a text message from you, Amy, that said, "Michael, Julian Assange has gone into the Ecuadorian embassy." So that really surprised me.
On the other hand, if you look at what he was facing, I had—I’ve been really very upset and nervous for, really, since he lost the decision in the High Court of England on the 14th of June, because here’s his situation. He’s about to be extradited now to Sweden. Sweden does not have bail. Now, these are on allegations of sex charges—allegations, no charges—and they’re to interrogate Julian Assange. But despite that, he would have been in prison in Sweden. At that point, our view is that there was a substantial chance that the U.S. would ask for his extradition to the United States. So here you have him walking the streets in London—sure, under bail conditions; going to a jail in Sweden, where he’s in prison, almost an incommunicado prison; U.S. files extradition; he remains in prison; and the next thing that happens is whatever time it takes him to fight the extradition in Sweden, he’s taken to the United States. There’s no chance then to make political asylum application any longer. In addition, once he comes to the United States—we just hold up Bradley Manning as example one of what will happen to Julian Assange: a underground cell, essentially abuse, torture, no ability to communicate with anybody, facing certainly good chance of a life sentence, with a possibility, of course, of one of these charges being a death penalty charge. More Transcript