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Assange against Ecuador

Assange against Ecuador

It is ironical that the very nation which had granted asylum to WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange six years ago, should now be sued by him for "violating his rights". Indeed, he has directed his legal team to launch proceedings against the government of Ecuador for "violating his fundamental rights." In a statement, WikiLeaks said Ecuador had "threatened to remove his protection and summarily cut off his access to the outside world." It added that the embassy has refused journalists and human rights organizations to see him as well as installed signal jammers to prevent phone calls and internet access. The whistleblower has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 when he was granted asylum as part of a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden where he was then facing allegations of sexual assault. Assange now fears US extradition due to his work with Wikileaks so he has remained in place. The accusations against Ecuador came after a new set of house rules revealed what Assange must adhere to in London from December 1. The memo specifies that Assange must pay for his own expenses like food, medical and laundry, that visitors must have prior authorisation, and that he must not only keep the spaces inside the embassy clean, but also take care of his cat. It also reiterates the position that he is not allowed to interfere in any other country's political matters. The leaked document says that the 47-year-old is at risk of losing both his pet and his asylum status if he does not comply. A WikiLeaks lawyer, arrived in Ecuador this week to launch legal proceedings. Among other things, he accused the Ecuadorian government of "not doing enough." A member of Assange's legal team said earlier this week that the rules were a "unilateral imposition from Ecuador in order to weaken the asylum granted to Assange (by) establishing conditions that are stronger than a jail." The Ecuadorean Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed the document after it was forced to deny media reports of pressure to issue new rules for Assange's living arrangements. "Ecuador is a sovereign state, that makes its decisions on foreign policy with autonomy and looking after the national interests while strictly following international law," it said. Assange's lawyers argue that Ecuador is "breaching his rights "by continuing to deny him access to the internet; the whistleblower was pulled offline back in March for failing to follow rules that Ecuador said he agreed to as part of his asylum. Understandably, a statement said it all."Ecuador's government warns that Assange's behaviour through his social media messages puts in risk the good relationship the country has with the UK, other EU countries and other nations."

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