Julian Assange, the controversial Wikileaks founder, has been granted asylum from Ecuador, but it's unclear if it will make any difference. Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino has "accused the UK of making an 'open threat' to enter its embassy to arrest Mr. Assange... [The British government] will still seek to arrest him and they will not grant him safe passage. If he steps out, he will be arrested," according to BBC News.
Assange has been at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June, to avoid going back to Sweden to face rape charges. While Assange denies the claims, the British government is remaining firm in its commitment to extradite him to Sweden. The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office just issued this statement:
We are disappointed by the statement from Ecuador’s Foreign Minister that Ecuador has offered political asylum to Julian Assange.
Under our law, with Mr Assange having exhausted all options of appeal, the British authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden. We shall carry out that obligation. The Ecuadorian Government's decision this afternoon does not change that.
We remain committed to a negotiated solution that allows us to carry out our obligations under the Extradition Act.
As BBC News reported, Patino had emphasized that it believes Assange's concerns that he his being politically persecuted and noted its tradition of protecting the vulnerable, "We trust that our friendship with the United Kingdom will remain intact." He also said there was the threat Assange could be arrested and taken to the U.S. and face the death penalty.
The Guardian has a live blog of what's happening. Supporters of Assange have gathered outside the embassy and some have been arrested in a confrontation with police:
Also, when will someone reenact Assange's stay at the Ecuadorian embassy?