Prominent cases of asylum-seeking at embassies

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LONDON | WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has entered the Ecuador Embassy in London seeking asylum. Some prominent cases of other asylum seekers taking shelter in embassies over the years:

A demonstrator protests outside the Ecuadorian embassy, London, Wednesday June 20, 2012. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange entered the embassy Tuesday in an attempt to gain political asylum. Ecuador said Assange would "remain at the embassy, under the protection of the Ecuadorean government" while authorities in the capital, Quito, considered his case. Assange was arrested in London in December 2010 at Sweden's request. Since then he has been fighting extradition to the Scandinavian country, where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sexual assaults on two women in 2010. (AP Photo/Tim Hales)

CHEN GUANGCHENG: 2012

Blind dissident Chen Guangcheng escaped house arrest in his Shandong village and sought refuge at the U.S. embassy in Beijing. He left after six days, and subsequently was allowed to go to New York with his wife and two children.

MANUEL NORIEGA: 1989

Manuel Noriega, military governor of Panama, sought refuge at the Apostolic Nunciature — the Vatican’s embassy — after being overthrown by a U.S. invasion. Noriega surrendered 10 days later after being assured he would not face the death penalty in the United States.

FANG LIZHI: 1989

Fang Lizhi, a Chinese astrophysicist and pro-democracy activist, and his wife Li Shuxian entered the U.S. Embassy in Beijing after Chinese authorities cracked down on pro-democracy protests. They lived in the embassy for 13 months before being allowed to go to the United States.

EDWARD LEE HOWARD: 1986

Edward Lee Howard, a former CIA agent, fled to Helsinki where he went to the Soviet Embassy and was granted asylum. Howard had been identified as a KGB agent by Soviet defector Vitaly Yurchenko, who later defected back to the Soviet Union as was awarded a medal.

CUBANS IN HAVANA: 1980

Six Cubans crashed a bus through the Peruvian Embassy gates in Havana on April 1, 1980. After Peru refused to turn the asylum-seekers over to the Cuban government, Fidel Castro ordered all security guards removed from the embassy. More than 10,000 Cubans then jammed the Peruvian embassy grounds demanding asylum. Castro then opened the port of Mariel and 125,000 Cubans left the country in a chaotic exodus by boats.

SVETLANA STALIN: 1966

Svetlana Stalin, daughter of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, went to the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi while she was in India returning the ashes of her husband. She returned to the Soviet Union in 1984, saying she wanted to reunite with her family. Her Soviet citizenship was restored but she left a year later to go back to the U.S. following a family feud.

CARDINAL JOZSEF MINDSZENTY: 1956

During Hungary’s Communist regime, Roman Catholic Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty lived in the U.S. Embassy in Budapest from 1956 until 1971, when he was allowed to leave for Vienna.