A Brief Comment on the Julian Assange Diplomatic Asylum Request

The commentary on Julian Assange’s legal situation now that he has sought asylum at the Ecuadoran embassy in London has begun to roll in from the public international law blogs. I am basically unsympathetic to Mr. Assange, but in light of Letters Blogatory’s coverage of the Ecuadoran legal system in the context of the Lago Agrio litigation, I thought the latest twist in his case deserved a comment. I’m struck by the irony of a self-proclaimed avatar of the value of a free press and transparency striking up a friendship with and seeking the protection of President Correa, given the president’s libel suit against journalists with El Universo, which resulted in a prison sentence and a multi-million dollar fine, later remitted by a presidential pardon after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted precautionary measures and asked Ecuador to suspend the judgment given the freedom of expression concerns it obviously raised. For Mr. Assange to look to Ecuador of all places for asylum in light of the El Universo case seems almost as ironic as Mr. Assange’s outrage at the unauthorized publication of a manuscript of his autobiography.

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