Ecuador' UK embassy imposes new communications bans on WikiLeaks founder

  11 May 2018    Read: 1345
Ecuador

Authorities at the Ecuadorean embassy in Britain have imposed new restrictions on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange residing in the compound, banning him from receiving visitors and phone calls.

The development – announced by the whistleblowing website -- came on Thursday, a day after Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa confirmed in an interview that Assange’s communications were being restricted as Britain was pressuring Ecuador.

"He still has no access to the internet and communications," Espinosa told Columbia-based newspaper El Tiempo, adding: "There is a dialogue, there is a will and an interest to move forward in the solution of that matter.

"Both countries have the intention and the interest that this be resolved, that an exit is found that allows better conditions for Assange. It is necessary to gather several subjects to reach a definitive agreement."

Assange has been a resident in the Ecuador’s Embassy in central London since June 2012. He had been facing extradition to Sweden over allegations that he sexually assaulted two women.

The whistleblower has rejected the accusations as politically motivated, and sought refuge in the embassy. 

Assange says he fears Sweden might extradite him to the US, where he could face criminal charges over WikiLeaks’ release of classified US documents. The UK is also seeking Assange’s arrest. 

According to press reports, his internet access was blocked in March after he violated an agreement not to make public comments on international developments.

At the time, Assange posted Twitter messages censuring Britain's response to the poisoning of Russian former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. He had also commented on Spain's dispute with Catalonia.

WikiLeaks insists that Assange is being silenced because of pressure from Washington. The website also stated that the description of the measures as a “social media ban” undersells the extent to which he’s being held “incommunicado.”


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