Ecuador is concerned that it took police two hours to respond to a break-in attempt at their embassy in #London where Julian Assange is taking refuge. Despite spending £13 million ($17 million) since 2012 on a police presence to prevent Julian Assange from leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London, it took London’s Metropolitan police two hours to respond to an attempted break-in by an unknown man at the premises. The WikiLeaks founder has been taking asylum in the embassy for the last four years.
Officials at the Ecuadorian embassy have condemned this “inadequate response” to the situation. Quito announced in a press statement on Tuesday that the attempted break-in occurred in the early hours of Monday morning. Ecuador cited the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) which makes the host nation responsible for the security of foreign embassies on their soil.
Ecuador’s government concerned about lack of security
In their media statement, Ecuador expressed concern about the delayed response by the British police, who took more than two hours to arrive. Stressing the enormous resources that had been used to prevent Assange from leaving their premises, Ecuador’s government regrets that authorities took so long to respond to an “extremely serious attempt” at gaining unauthorized entry to the embassy. The statement did add that Ecuador’s government is willing to cooperate with British security forces in an attempt to prevent future incidents of this nature and that they renew their commitment to protect the #Wikileaks founder. Security cameras on the building captured the break-in attempt and police are reportedly looking for a man with short dark hair.
WikiLeaks pointed out the proximity of the nearest police station
UK police took 2h to respond to Assange Embassy intruder despite 24h covert op & police station 2 mins walk away. pic.twitter.com/omaGWDwwuW— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 23, 2016
In a tweet on Tuesday, WikiLeaks pointed out that the embassy is only two minutes’ walk from the nearest police station, thus making the delayed response unusual. After spending £13 million ($17 million) to police the building after Assange arrived at the embassy in 2012, the Metropolitan Police dropped its 24-hour guard of the embassy back in October last year, saying the force would be using “overt and covert” tactics to ensure the WikiLeaks founder doesn’t leave the embassy. Reportedly police are still committed to arresting Julian Assange under the European Arrest Warrant issued in 2010 for his extradition to Sweden to respond to questions on rape allegations. No charges have been made, but Assange is concerned that should he travel to Sweden, he will then be extradited to the U.S. on espionage charges.
Conspiracy theorists think the attempted break-in was an assassination attempt
Many have taken to Twitter following the attempted break-in to ask whether this was an attempt on Assange’s life, especially since the release of thousands of email in the Hillary Clinton email scandal. Reference was also made to the fact that Assange’s lawyer recently died after being hit by a train in an alleged "suicide."
Julian Assange lawyer found dead "hit by train" in "apparent suicide" - Puppet String news https://t.co/rIcWqyad6m— Julie Daniels (@julesdaniels) August 24, 2016