find the latest legal job
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Solicitor - Insurance and Health
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Newcastle NSW 2300
· Dynamic organisation · Outstanding career opportunity
View details
Solicitors Barrister and Registered Migration Agents
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· We are an established multi-disciplinary practice located in North Sydney. ·
View details
Commercial/Projects Lawyer (4+ PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Fantastic, supportive working environment · Wide variety of work, direct client contact
View details
Experts say Assange’s asylum bid could work

Experts say Assange’s asylum bid could work

Seeking political asylum from Ecuador may pay off for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, legal experts have said.

Assange sought refuge at the London Embassy of Ecuador yesterday (19 June). The move follows a British Supreme Court decision not to reopen his appeal against an extradition order to Sweden where he faces questioning over alleged sex crimes.

If Ecuador grants Assange’s request for asylum from persecution, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he would avoid legal proceedings seeking his extradition to Sweden, said Professor Donald Rothwell (pictured) from the Australian National University College of Law.

“The government of Ecuador has a capacity under international law to grant Assange political asylum, in which case he would be eligible to enjoy protected passage from the United Kingdom to Ecuador.”

The move may also protect Assange from extradition to the United States, according to Rothwell.

While Ecuador and the US are parties to the 1872 Extradition Treaty, Assange could rely on the ‘political offence’ exception under Article 3. This would exclude criminal charges connected to Assange’s Wikileaks activities and the publication of classified US government documents from being covered by the treaty, Rothwell said.

A statement on the London Embassy of Ecuador website said: “While the department assesses Mr Assange’s application, Mr Assange will remain at the embassy under the protection of the Ecuadorian government.

“The decision to consider Mr Assange’s application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden.”

Picking up Australia’s slack

Greg Barns, president of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, told Lawyers Weekly that Ecuador has picked up the responsibility of the Australian government.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement that Assange has Australia’s full consular support is a token gesture, said Barns.

“The Australian government should have done a lot more for Assange – they could have made a much greater effort in terms of diplomatic overtures to the US and Sweden,” he said.

Barns believes Assange will be extradited to Sweden if the Ecuadorian government rejects his application. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”

Ecuador offered Assange residency in 2010 when he was placed on the US government’s most-wanted list. The then deputy foreign minister of Ecuador, Kintto Lucas, said at the time: “We are going to invite him to come to Ecuador so he can freely present the information he possesses and all the documentation, not just over the internet but in a variety of public forums.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Community Legal Centres NSW has welcomed the Australian Law Reform Commission
07:04
CLCs welcome Indigenous incarceration inquiry
Community Legal Centres NSW has welcomed the Australian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into the r...
Commends
Jul 27 2017
Legal body commends funding for independent crime stats
The Queensland Law Society has applauded the state government’s commitment to fund a new independe...
Laptop
Jul 27 2017
Virtual marketplace to bolster lawyers’ skills
An industry-first online symposium and virtual marketplace has issued a call to action to legal prof...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...