WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sought asylum from the Ecuador Embassy in London. As a signatory to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the Embassy has an obligation to review his application and should grant it.
Asylum eligibility has three requirements, all of which Assange meets: 1) a fear of persecution, 2) on account of a protected ground (in Assange's case, "political opinion"), and 3) a government is either involved in the persecution (in Assange's case, the United States) or unable to control the conduct of private actors.
After Britain rejected Asange's bid to reconsider extradition to Sweden to face questioning over sexual misconduct allegations (Assange has not been charged with any crime by any nation), Assange sought asylum from the Ecuador Embassy in London.
Under the criteria that even the U.S. follows, he qualifies. Few would contest that he has a valid fear of political persecution. And certainly a government, primarily the United States, is behind it. The Pentagon launched a world-wide manhunt against Assange. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote an Op-Ed stating conclusively that
Mr. Assange continues to violate the Espionage Act of 1917
, a law the United States has used in a brutal crackdown on whistleblowers, often involving trumped up criminal charges. (See the case of my client and fellow Kossack Tom Drake.)
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated:
The actions taken by WikiLeaks are not only deplorable, irresponsible, and reprehensible--they could have major impacts on our national security
. . . fear-mongering impacts that have not be borne out over the past two years. On top of this, as Glenn Greenwald points out, if Assange were to be extradited to Sweden, Sweden has a nasty history of turning over asylum applicants to the CIA, which rendered two of them to Egypt to be tortured (the U.N. Human Rights Committee later found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for this extraordinary rendition.)
I discussed this on Russian TV (RT) last night, which BTW, recently aired Assange's interview of Ecuador's President, Rafeal Correa, for his television program.
Jesselyn Radack is National Security & Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.