The Foreign Office of the United Kingdom would do well to remember that Asylum is not a misuse of diplomatic premises under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act of 1987 nor is it an abuse of diplomatic privileges under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations..
I don’t know what William Hague has been smoking when he thinks he has the right to threaten the sovereign status of the Ecuadorian embassy. That behavior is the text book definition of terrorism, the treat of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. Telling Ecuador you will revoke their status and or raid their embassy seems pretty intimidating too me.
I really don’t even think the Foreign Office has bothered to read their own Act very well anyway as it’s quite clearly states;
If diplomatic relations are broken off between two States, or if a mission is permanently or temporarily recalled:
(a) the receiving State must, even in case of armed conflict, respect and protect the premises of the mission, together with its property and archives;
(b) the sending State may entrust the custody of the premises of the mission, together with its property and archives, to a third State acceptable to the receiving State;
(c) the sending State may entrust the protection of its interests and those of its nationals to a third State acceptable to the receiving State.
So even after all that they have no legal right to seize Assange, the UK’s obligations are very clear on this matter even in the event of local judicial proceedings. The Act says;
“In addition the premises, their furnishings, and fixtures are immune from any search, requisition, attachment or execution, with the effect that the premises must not be entered even in pursuance of a judicial order.”
Lets read that last bit again “even in the pursuance of a judicial order”…. seems to be at odds with the Foreign Office’s “The UK has a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sexual offences and we remain determined to fulfil this obligation”.
Let’s be clear though Sweden has not accused Assange of sexual offences, the bases of their extradition order is that they want to question him as part of a preliminary investigation which they had plenty of time to do in September 2010 prior to Assange leaving Sweden.
He has not been charged with a crime, and as such they should travel to his location just has Sweden’s prosecutors have done in the past. Their is nothing in Swedish law preventing the prosecutor from requesting Mutual Legal Assistance to interview Assange, in fact to use the European Arrest Warrant goes against the legal principle of proportionality.
It’s time the charade that this is some how about sexual misconduct come’s to an end, and it also highlights the dangers of automatic extradition treaties that remove the safe guards of domestic judicial processes such as those Australia recently signed with the US.
It’s astonishing to think it is now quite legal for the US to extradite an Australian citizen for breaking US law without that citizen having ever entered the United States… what have we become?