by Ray Fleming

The Julian Assange affair is taking a dangerous course as Britain threatens to forcibly enter the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where Assange has been taking refuge since June, in order to arrest him and prepare to extradite him to Sweden in line with British court judgements. The Ecuadorean government in Quito has granted Mr Assange the political asylum he sought to protect him against what he sees as a British-Swedish-US plot to get him to the United States to face charges for the Wikileaks from US embassies which he released to the world's media in 2010. The Ecuadorean action will be seen as humanitarian and in the public interest in many countries.

If Assange were a refugee wanted on minor charges none of this would have happened. But the United States wants its revenge and believes that once he is on Swedish soil it will be able to extradite him to America.

Britain is in a difficult position but not so difficult that it should be party to a plot or employ intimidating language in threatening to use the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act of 1987 to force its way into the Ecuadorean Embassy and arrest Assange. Specialist lawyers believe that it may be difficult to justify Britain's proposed action under the Act and that its implications would anyway cause a major diplomatic row. Second thoughts are needed, urgently.