Supporters of Julian Assange fear an assassination attempt was made on the Wikileaks founder after an intruder scaled the walls of his Ecuadorian Embassy hideout in London. Ecuador on Tuesday expressed concern over the “inadequate” response from the British authorities to the incident at the embassy, which has been Assange’s home for over four years.
An official statement from Ecuador said, “The Ecuadorian government expresses its concern about the inadequate response by the British authorities, who only arrived at the embassy more than two hours after the incident took place. “The government of Ecuador regrets that, despite the enormous resources that the British government has undertaken to prevent Julian Assange leaving the Ecuadorian embassy, the authorities did not respond more quickly to this extremely serious attempt an unauthorised entry,” the statement said.
The statement said it has made available all evidence in its possession to help clarify this “serious incident” to the UK diplomatic police. “The government of Ecuador expresses its willingness to cooperate with the security forces in the UK to prevent future incidents and renews its commitment to protect Julian Assange,” it added. A number of social media users suggested it was an assassination attempt “ordered” by Hillary Clinton, while others thought US President Barack Obama was involved.
Wikileaks wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, “At 2:47am an unknown man scaled the side wall (and the) window of the Ecuadorian embassy in London; fled after being caught by security. However, Scotland Yard seems to be treating the incident as an “attempted burglary””.
“Police are investigating an alleged attempted burglary at diplomatic premises in Kensington and Chelsea. Detectives from Kensington and Chelsea’s CID are leading the investigation alongside colleagues from the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. There have been no arrests and enquiries continue,” a Metropolitan Police statement said.
Assange is wanted in Sweden in relation to a 2010 rape allegation, which the Australian national denies. He has fought against being extradited to Sweden, saying he fears he would then be transferred to the US to face charges on Wikileaks’ activities. In 2012, while on bail, he claimed asylum inside the Ecuadorean embassy in central London after the UK Supreme Court had ruled the extradition against him could go ahead.
A UN working group had ruled in February that Assange was being arbitrarily detained. However, the UK Foreign Office has called for the UN decision to be reviewed, saying Assange was staying in the embassy voluntarily and that the UK had a legal duty to extradite him to Sweden. Met Police had scaled back its multi-million-pound security presence from the Ecuadorean embassy last year, saying the operation was “no longer proportionate”.
The round-the-clock vigil on Assange had reportedly cost the force around 11.1 million pounds. Earlier this month it emerged that Swedish prosecutors investigating the rape allegation against Assange have agreed to question him at his embassy hideout.