Ecuador tells Assange to avoid political activity online – and feed the cat

  16 October 2018    Read: 1672
Ecuador tells Assange to avoid political activity online – and feed the cat

Ecuador has laid out a stringent new set of house rules for Julian Assange, warning the whistleblower to avoid online comments about political issues – and ordering him to clean his bathroom and take better care of his cat, or risk losing his pet, the Guardian reported.

Assange, who has been living in Ecuador’s UK embassy since June 2012, must obtain approval for all visitors from diplomatic staff three days in advance. He is expressly banned from activities which could be “considered as political or interfering with the internal affairs of other states,” according to the memo seen by the Guardian.

The Ecuadorian government partially lifted restrictions Assange’s internet access at the weekend, but the document stipulates that the WikiLeaks founder will only be allowed to use the embassy wifi for his personal computer and phone.

The Australian and his guests are explicitly prohibited from using or installing “unauthorised equipment”.

According to the memo, the embassy “reserved the right to authorise security personnel to seize equipment” or ask the British authorities to enter the embassy and do so. Any attempt to bring such equipment into the embassy would be reported as a “security breach and reported to the competent British authorities.”

Ecuador’s government suspended Assange’s internet access in March, saying that he had breached “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”.

However, Assange had previously operated freely within the embassy – even compromising its communications system, the Guardian detailed in a series of reports in May.

Assange was told to take charge of the “well-being, food, hygiene and proper care” of his pet cat, in the memo written in Spanish and first published on the Ecuadorian Código Vidrio website.

It warned that if the WikiLeaks founder did not take care of the pet, it would be given to someone else or handed in to an animal refuge.

“It’s virtually a prison regime,” Carlos Poveda, Assange’s lawyer in Quito told the Guardian. “This new regime goes against his basic human dignity as an asylee,” he said.

Poveda added that as of Monday Assange had not had his internet restored and had not been able to read and understand the memo as it had not been translated from Spanish.

The memo implored Assange and his guests to keep the bathroom clean and stated the diplomatic mission would not pay towards his food, laundry or any other costs related to his stay from 1 December 2018 onwards. Assange must also have quarterly medical check-ups that he must pay for too, it stated.

Any failure to comply with the news house rules “could lead to the termination of the diplomatic asylum granted by the Ecuadorian state,” it added.


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