Ecuador’s administration is a supporter of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. When the U.S. first began to pursue the WikiLeaks originator after the release of the State Department’s cables in November 2010, Ecuador welcomed him with asylum. The offer was turned down, or withdrawn, it’s hard to say but Assange has progressed good ties with the government of Rafael Correa.
Why can’t the police just go in and arrest him?
One of the foundations of international relations is diplomatic immunity, which permits embassies to work without the distress of political persecution, even during times of conflict. Although an embassy remains the territory of the host nation (in this case, the United Kingdom, it is efficiently a pint-sized portion of a country on foreign soil. The UK Police may only enter if they are invited by Ecuador’s ambassador.
Why can’t he just fly out of the UK and into Ecuador?
As soon as his body exits the embassy, the UK police can take control and arrest him. It is also a possibility that Ecuador could decide that this diplomatic squabble isn’t worth it and either hand him over or request that he leaves the building. With Ecuador though, even though he has been granted asylum, he can’t get to an airport without entering UK territory. Ecuador must console with Britain to make his travel abroad possible, and this doesn’t seem like it would ever happen.
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