Americas

Ecuador muzzles WikiLeaks’ Assange, citing threat to international relations

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in February of 2016.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in February of 2016. AP File

Ecuador announced Wednesday that it has cut off Julian Assange’s ability to communicate with the outside world, saying the WikiLeaks founder was hurting the nation’s relations with other countries.

“The government of Ecuador warns that Assange’s behavior, through his messages on social media, has put our good relations with the United Kingdom and the rest of states in the European Union at risk,” Ecuador’s Communications Secretariat said in a news release.

The government said Assange had signed a written document in late 2017 where he pledged not to send messages that might affect Ecuador’s international relations.

Assange’s last message on Twitter, which he uses often, was on Tuesday and made reference to a Guardian article in which a junior British foreign affairs official called him a “miserable little worm.”

Read More: Assange seeks safe passage after investigation dropped

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, where he went to elude arrest by Swedish authorities who wanted to question him on sexual assault allegations. While that investigation was dropped last year, England has refused to guarantee Assange’s safe passage out of the cramped embassy, and he’s long feared that he may be extradited to the United States for publishing confidential and classified information.

Assange had close ties to former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, but has seen the relationship cool under his successor, Lenín Moreno, who came to power last year.

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