Ecuador admits it cut Assange's internet to stop WikiLeaks' US election 'interference'

10 points to Gryffin, er, Ecuador


Ecuador's Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana – its foreign ministry – has admitted the nation cut off Julian Assange's internet access.

The WikiLeaks boss has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London for the past four years to avoid being questioned in Sweden with potential extradition to America. On Monday, his hosts pulled the plug on his internet access.

In a statement on Tuesday The Register has shoved through an online translate-o-tronic service, Ecuador's government says the nation "... granted political asylum to Julian Assange in 2012 on the basis of their legitimate fears of political persecution because of his journalistic activities as editor of WikiLeaks."

"In recent weeks, WikiLeaks has published a large number of documents which have an impact on the election campaign in the United States," the official note continues, referring to internal documents obtained from the Democratic National Committee and the campaign to elect Hillary Clinton as US president. "The decision to make public such information is the sole responsibility of the Wikileaks organization."

Ecuador clearly isn't happy with those leaks – some of which have been linked back allegedly to Russia – and South American country goes on to offer the following:

The Government of Ecuador respects the principle of non-intervention in the affairs of other countries, it does not interfere in electoral processes in progress or support a candidate in particular.

In that sense, Ecuador, in exercise of its sovereign right, has temporarily restricted access to part of its communications system in its embassy in the UK.

This temporary restriction does not prevent the WikiLeaks organization to carry out his journalistic activities.

Indeed it does not, although presumably it makes it hard for Assange to pick up his email. Although as WikiLeaks tweeted when the internet was cut off indicates, the organization has some kind of Plan B in place.

Ecuador's statement says it is happy to let Assange and other persecuted people couch-surf in its embassy, and "reiterates its intention to safeguard their lives and physical integrity until you can move to a safe place."

The statement concludes with the sentence: "Ecuador's foreign policy responds only to sovereign decisions and not yield to pressure from other states."

The Register thinks that's translatable as "no way did we do this because the United States asked us to. Why would you even think that?"

WikiLeaks beat Ecuador to the news with the tweet below.

WikiLeaks' webpage and Twitter feed are silent on the matter at the time of writing. ®


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