25 July 2018
An online petition to provide WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange political asylum in New Zealand has been extended to Aug. 7. It reads that the “House of Representatives urge the Government to provide Julian Assange with permanent political asylum in New Zealand, including a guarantee of safe passage from the United Kingdom to New Zealand.”
It went on to state that the reason for the petition is due to the fact that Assange “is under effective house arrest in UK. On 5 February 2016, the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Assange had been subject to arbitrary detention since 7 Dec 2010.”
The petition has obtained over 1,400 signatures in just over two weeks despite issues with the New Zealand government petition website, according to Scoop News Independent.
The request is being made because supporters of WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief believe that he may be imminently handed over to U.K. authorities by the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Supporters claim that if this occurs his human rights, asylum rights and liberty will be placed in jeopardy.
International vigils in support of Assange are scheduled in at least thirteen different cities: Wellington, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Dublin, Adelaide, Kathmandu, Paris, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, New York and Toronto.
Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno is visiting the United Kingdom and Spain between July 22 and 28 as speculation continues over Assange’s situation inside the South American country’s embassy in London.
Although Moreno’s government has not confirmed whether he will discuss Assange’s asylum situation at any point, local newspaper El Comercio reports high-level talks between Ecuador and the U.K. have been taking place to decide the future of the WikiLeaks founder.
Ecuador is reportedly prepared to hand over the WikiLeaks founder to the UK in “coming weeks or even days,” according to reports by RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan as well as The Intercept website.