LONDON — Pope Francis is in Ecuador, beginning an eight day tour of South America, the pontiff’s first visit to his native South America since Jorge Mario Bergoglio ascended to the papacy.
Here in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, as observed by a solitary reporter who only pretends to speak Spanish, fugitive from Swedish justice Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who has been holed up here for more than three years, issued a demand that Francis abort his long-planned trip and fly to London in his popeplane, pick up the fugitive, and endorse his campaign to disrupt government at all levels.
Assange had a nomadic childhood, and lived in over thirty different Australian towns by the time he reached his mid-teens, when he settled with his mother and half-brother in Melbourne, Victoria. He counts Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as one of his close personal friends. Since June 2012, Her Majesty’s Police have valiantly stood outside this sovereign embassy, ready to pounce upon the former nomad and take him to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation, and one count of lesser-degree rape alleged to have been committed against two women during a visit to Sweden in August 2010.
Papal spokesman Federico Lombardi, S.J., issued a statement expressing pastoral sympathy for Assange’s captivity, but made it clear that Francis will not interrupt his trip.
Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, who visited Assange here in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2013, expressed regret.