Monday 15 October 2018

Ecuador: No set date for Assange to regain internet access

Ecuador’s government cut his internet connection in March after social media posts decrying the arrest of a Catalan separatist politician.

Ecuador gave Julian Assange asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden for investigation of sex-related claims (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Ecuador gave Julian Assange asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden for investigation of sex-related claims (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Associated Press Reporter

No date has been set for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to regain access to the internet at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has been in asylum since 2012, Ecuador’s foreign minister said.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa said Mr Assange has not complied with his agreement to avoid intervening in the politics of other countries.

“On several occasions he has agreed on not intervening in internal politics of third-party countries and unfortunately he has not complied with his commitment, so for the time being he is not allowed to have access to the internet,” she told The Associated Press. “It is not a matter of censorship.”

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Julian Assange has been at the embassy in London since 2012 (Yui Mok/PA)

Ecuador’s government cut Mr Assange’s internet connection in March after social media posts decrying the arrest of a Catalan separatist politician.

Ecuador gave Mr Assange asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden for the investigation of sex-related claims.

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

He also fears a possible US extradition request.

The foreign minister said that Ecuador has asked Mr Assange to comply with “his obligations” when it comes to “respecting international law”.

“We have asked him to do so and he has said he would (comply)”, she said. “Unfortunately he did not on several occasions”.

Ecuador has tried to find a solution that would allow Mr Assange to leave without the threat of arrest, but so far without success.

Ms Espinosa said that her government is in continuous talks with Mr Assange’s lawyers and with the British government.

“I think all parties are interested in finding an outlet, a solution, to this complex situation,” she said.

Ms Espinosa was at UN headquarters in New York because of Tuesday’s election for the presidency of the next session of the General Assembly, which starts in September.

She and the current ambassador of Honduras to the UN, Mary Elizabeth Flores, are vying to lead the 193-member world body. The presidency rotates every year by region.

Ecuador granted the Australian-born Mr Assange citizenship in December as part of an effort to make him a member of its diplomatic team, which would grant him additional rights, such as special legal immunity.

However, Britain’s Foreign Office rejected the request to grant him diplomatic status in the UK.

Press Association

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