Assange cut off from outside world

Source:AFP Published: 2018/4/2 22:03:39

Ecuador says he continues to interfere in other countries’ affairs


Ecuador on Wednesday said it has stopped Julian Assange's ability to communicate to the outside world from its London embassy, where the WikiLeaks founder has been holed up since 2012.

The decision was taken because the Australian had broken a 2017 promise  not to interfere in other countries' affairs while in the mission, an Ecuadoran government statement said without elaborating.

Under that deal, Assange had pledged "to not send messages that could be seen as interference in relations with other countries," the statement said, adding that it could take other, unspecified measures if he persisted.

The move to cut off Assange came after he used Twitter on Monday to challenge Britain's accusation that Russia was responsible for the March 4 nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent in the English city of Salisbury.

Assange also questioned the decision by Britain and more than 20 countries to retaliate against the poisoning by expelling Russian diplomats deemed spies.

The comments prompted a British Foreign Office minister, Alan Duncan, to brand Assange a "miserable little worm" who should leave the embassy to turn himself over to British authorities.

In another tweet storm on Tuesday, Assange attacked the arrest in Germany of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont under an EU warrant issued by Spain over Puigdemont's failed bid last year to declare independence.

Assange's "behavior, with his messages on social networks, puts at risk our good relations" with Britain and the EU, the Ecuadoran government text said.

Assange, 46, has spent much of his time in his small room in the embassy tweeting and at times contributing to RT, a Russian state-owned television channel that broadcasts Kremlin messaging, as well as taking part in media conferences via video link.

In 2016, Ecuador briefly suspended his internet connection for posting documents online that were seen as having an impact on the US presidential election from which Donald Trump emerged the victor.

In May 2017, Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno asked Assange to refrain from commenting on the separatist crisis in Spain's Catalonia region, after he tweeted that Madrid was guilty of "repression."



Posted in: AMERICAS

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