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:
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.