Ecuador punishes Assange … depriving him of the Internet

Annoyed by some of its positions, Ecuador has cut Internet to Julian Assange, a refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, to punish the founder of WikiLeaks.

The government of this country announced on Wednesday that it had cut Australian “communication systems” “out of the box”.

Internet connection removed or equipment confiscated? The press release does not give details of the terms of this sanction. The text does not say whether the founder of Wikileaks can receive visitors.

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and British musician Brian Eno have denounced this measure, which they say contributes to “Julian’s isolation”.

In case of recurrence of the Australian, Quito warns that he can adopt “other measures”, without further details.

The Government of Ecuador did not indicate how Julian Assange had failed in his “written pledge with the Government at the end of 2017 that he promised not to publish messages that interfered with the (Ecuadorian) relationship with him. other States “, including the United States.

But the reaction of the Andean country comes after a series of tweets posted recently by Assange. In these messages, he denounces the arrest of former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont Sunday in Germany.

On Monday night, he also criticized the “timing” of the expulsion of Russian diplomats by Western countries in response to the poisoning of a former Russian agent in the United Kingdom, “12 hours after one of the worst fires in the world. buildings of post-Soviet history, that of a shopping center in Siberia.

“Wretched little earthworm”

In return, the Australian immediately attracted the wrath of a member of the British government.

“It is very unfortunate that Julian Assange remains in the Embassy of Ecuador,” said British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Alan Duncan Tuesday before Parliament.

“It’s high time this miserable worm came out of the embassy and went to British justice,” he added.

Meeting in London

This is not the first time that Ecuador reminds its host, more and more cumbersome. In late 2017, the latter accused the Spanish government of “repression” and sided with Catalan separatists. But President Lenin Moreno, who took over from Rafael Correa in May 2017, reiterated in February his promise to continue to protect Assange.

In a speech on Wednesday in Quito, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Fernando Espinosa announced that a delegation from her government would meet “next week” in London with Assange’s lawyers to “explore alternatives For a possible exit from the embassy.

Depriving Wikileaks’ founder of means of communication “does not imply a change in asylum policy (of Quito), but amounts to enforcing the conditions” of this protection, Judge Michel Levi, professor of international relations of the Simon Bolivar University.

The 46-year-old Australian had found asylum in June 2012 in the Embassy of Ecuador to escape extradition to Sweden, where he had been wanted since late 2010 on charges of rape and sexual assault he denies.

This country was then presided by Rafael Correa, a figure of the South American left, who taunted Washington by granting protection to the founder of WikiLeaks.

In case of arrest, Assange fears to be extradited and tried in the United States for the publication by WikiLeaks in 2010 of many US military secrets and diplomatic documents.

Despite the abandonment of the rape prosecution in May 2017, a London court refused in February to lift his arrest warrant on the grounds that he had failed to comply with bail conditions.

The Ecuadorian government announced at the end of February that the mediation project proposed in the United Kingdom to resolve the case of Julian Assange was “at a standstill”.

Quito granted Ecuadorian citizenship to the founder of WikiLeaks in December, but London refused to grant him diplomatic status that would have allowed him to leave the embassy without being arrested by the British police.

“We continue to dialogue with the United Kingdom to find a final and lasting solution to this situation,” said Wednesday M me Espinosa.

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