Published: Thu, March 29, 2018
Finance | By Gustavo Carr

Ecuador Punishes WikiLeaks Founder in London Embassy for Political Meddling

Ecuador Punishes WikiLeaks Founder in London Embassy for Political Meddling

He has now been living in the embassy for more than five years.

Assange, who has lived at the embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations and other charges in the United States, has used social media to voice his thoughts on politics and corruption.

Sweden dropped its probe past year, but British authorities say they still want to arrest him for breaching his bail conditions.

The Ecuadoran government said Wednesday it had suspended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's communications with "the outside", in a reference to its London Embassy, where the Australian national has been residing since 2012.

In a statement, officials said Assange's recent posts "put at risk" the good relations Ecuador maintains with nations throughout Europe and had decided as of Tuesday 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.

However, in recent days Assange has tweeted about his disapproval with several countries, including the USA, for their decision to expel Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in the United Kingdom earlier this month.

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Now, for at least the second time, Assange's internet connection has been cut off.

Kim Dotcom, a German internet tycoon who has always been vocal of his support for Assange's freedom, urged other supporters to gather outside the embassy on Wednesday to help Assange regain his Internet connection.

Assange claims the accusations were politically motivated and could lead to him being extradited to the United States to face imprisonment over WikiLeaks' publication of secret USA military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.

Lenin Moreno, who took office in May 2017, has called Assange "a hacker".

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

"The important thing is to continue to dialogue with Britain to find a definitive and lasting solution to this situation that the current government has inherited from the previous administration", she said.

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