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Ecuador cuts off Assange's communications

March 28, 2018

Ecuador has said the decision was made after Assange violated a deal on not interfering in other countries' affairs. Assange had questioned UK's accusation that Russia was behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

Assange pictured on the balcony of the Equadorian Embassy in Central London
Image: picture-alliance/J.Wiseman

Ecuador's government on Wednesday said it was cutting off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's communications outside the nation's London embassy, where he has been living for more than five years.

Ecuadorian officials said the measure was taken in response to Assange's recent activity on social media, which was seen as a violation of a 2017 written agreement that prevents him from sending any messages that could interfere with the South American nation's relations with other countries.

They said Assange's posts "put at risk the good relations that the country maintains with the United Kingdom, with the rest of the European Union states and other nations," so they had decided to suspend his internet access "in order to prevent any potential harm."

Assange took to Twitter on Monday to question Britain's accusation that Russia was responsible for the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian spy in the English city of Salisbury. He also questioned the expulsion of Russian diplomats by Britain and other countries.

Assange's tweets drew a strong response from the British Foreign Office minister, Alan Duncan, on Tuesday. He said it was time "that this miserable little worm walked out of the embassy and gave himself up to British justice."

Ecuador gave Assange asylum after he sought refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he denied.

Assange argued that Sweden would eventually extradite him to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of leaked classified military and diplomatic documents.

Sweden dropped the case, but Assange remains subject to arrest in Britain for jumping bail.

Earlier this year, Ecuador said it had granted the Australian-born Assange citizenship.

ap/sms (AP, AFP, dpa)

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