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1ST LEAD Ecuador suspends Assange's communication outside London embassy By Ramiro Carrillo, dpa

Europe
28.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Quito (dpa) - The Ecuadorian 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.

Ecuador said it suspended "systems that allow Julian Assange to communicate with the outside" due to his failure to honour a 2017 written agreement not to send messages involving "interference in relation to other states."

Assange may not use the internet or receive visitors at the embassy, according to Britain‘s Press Association news agency.

Assange‘s messages on social media "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," the government in Quito said.

It added that it might also adopt "new measures," without giving further details.

The statement was issued after Assange criticized the arrest of Catalonia‘s ex-leader Carles Puigdemont on Twitter, referring to the fugitive as a "political prisoner."

He also posted a series of tweets about the chemical weapon attack against a former Russian spy on British soil earlier this month, saying that "the evidence (against Russia) is circumstantial."

British Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan on Tuesday said it was time "that this miserable little worm walked out of the embassy and gave himself up to British justice."

Assange moved into the embassy in 2012 after breaching bail in relation to sexual assault allegations he faced in Sweden. As there is not an extradition treaty between Britain and Ecuador, he cannot be arrested inside the embassy.

The Swedish authorities have dropped their investigation, but Assange believes he will be extradited to the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves the building.

Former Greek foreign minister Yanis Varoufakis and musician Brian Eno were among the first to react, saying in a statement they had heard about the Ecuadorian embassy‘s apparent effort to isolate Assange "with great concern," PA reported.

They suggested the Ecuadorian government had been "leaned on mercilessly."

"Clearly, Ecuador‘s government has been subjected to bullying over its decision to grant Julian asylum, support and ultimately, diplomatic status," they said, according to PA.

 

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