Julian Assange, WikiLeaks And Vienna Convention

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By admin April 12, 2019 10:28

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by police on 11 April from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been holed up since 2012.

Who is Julian Assange?

Julian Assange is an Australian-Ecuadorian computer programmer who is the editor of WikiLeaks.

What is WikiLeaks?

  • WikiLeaks is an international non-profit organisation (NPO) who publishes some secret piece of information, news leaks, and also classified media which is provided by some sources.
  • In April 2010, WikiLeaks released the Collateral Murder footage from the 12 July of 2007  Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi journalists were among those killed.
  • Moreover, other releases in 2010 which included the Afghan War Diary and also the “Iraq War Logs”.
  • During the 2016 US presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks released emails and other

documents which caused significant harm to the Clinton campaign.

✓ The U.S. intelligence says that leaked emails had been hacked by Russia and supplied to WikiLeaks.

✓ In fact, WikiLeaks denied their source was Russia or any other state.

What is the issue?

Moreover, after WikiLeaks released the Manning material, United States authorities start investigating WikiLeaks. It Assange personally with a view to prosecuting them under the Espionage Act in the year of 1917.

Swedish sexual assault allegations

✓ During his visit, Julian became the subject of sexual assault allegations from two women. ✓ Swedish authorities wanted to question Julian regarding this case. ✓ They have been asking for his extradition to Sweden. ✓ But Julian feared that Sweden would hand him over to the United States, where he could face severe penalties, up to the death sentence, for his activities related to WikiLeaks.

What is Extradition?

✓ It is the surrender of a criminal to one country by another.

✓ A country should not apply its criminal law to a person who committed an offence outside

its territories except when the crime is related to a particular country’s national interest. ✓ The process is executed by treaties between the two countries.

What is political asylum?

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the

right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”

✓ The United Nations 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and also the 1967 Protocol. It is relating to the Status of Refugees guides national legislation concerning political asylum.

✓ Under these agreements, a refugee is a person who is outside. And that person own country’s territory owing to fear of few persecution on protected grounds.

Asylum granted by Equador

  • Julian Assange was in London.
  • He visited the Ecuadorian Embassy and requested political asylum.
  • London Police threatened to arrest him. ✓ But they could not arrest him as such actions would be a disregard of the Vienna Convention.
  • London Police was stationed outside the building from June 2012 to October 2015 in order to arrest Assange.
  • On 11 April 2019 Assange was detained by the Police Force inside the Ecuadorian embassy ✓ The Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno stated that Ecuador withdrew Assange’s asylum after he repeatedly violated international conventions.

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

✓ This treaty came into force in 1964.

✓ It lays out the rules and regulations for diplomatic relations between countries as well as the various privileges that diplomats and diplomatic missions enjoy.

Important Do’s & don’ts of the treaty

  • The host nation at any time and for any reason can declare a member of the diplomatic staff to be persona non grata.
  • The sending state must recall this person within some reasonable period of time, or otherwise, this person may also lose their diplomatic immunity.
  • However, diplomatic immunity is a kind of legal immunity which ensures diplomats that are given safe passage. And it is considered not susceptible to prosecution under the host country’s laws, but they can still be expelled.

The premises of a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy, are inviolable and must not be entered by the host country except by permission of the head of the mission. This rule was protecting Julian from arrest.

✓ The host country must protect the mission from intrusion or damage.

Article 30 of the treaty extends this provision to the private residence of the diplomats.

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By admin April 12, 2019 10:28