Thursday, 29 March 2018 06:11

Ecuador cuts Assange's net connection over 'interference' Featured

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Ecuador has taken what it says is a step to prevent WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange from interfering in other countries' affairs and cut off his Internet access.

The BBC reported that the move came after Assange raised doubts (see tweet below) about Britain's assertions that Moscow was behind the recent poisoning of an ex-spy from Russia and his daughter.

But WikiLeaks contested this, claiming that Ecuador had only asked for removal of a tweet that said: "In 1940 the elected president of Catalonia, Lluís Companys, was captured by the Gestapo, at the request of Spain, delivered to them and executed. Today, German police have arrested the elected president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, at the request of Spain, to be extradited."

It added: "This is the only tweet the government of Ecuador asked to be removed. In an email to his London lawyers on 27 March at 14:54 BST the Ecuadorian foreign ministry referenced no other matter."

Ecuador said Assange’s recent behaviour on social media “put at risk the good relations (it) maintains with the UK, with the other states of the European Union, and with other nations”.

Assange last month lost a bid in court to get an arrest warrant against him dropped.

The Australian has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012.

His problems began when he visited Sweden in August 2010 to attend a conference where he was scheduled to give a talk. During that visit, he had sex with two women whom he met. The pair filed rape and molestation complaints against him later, claims that he denied.

He was questioned by Swedish authorities and cleared of all accusations. He could have left the country then and there but stayed for a while, in case the authorities decided to question him again.

Interpol issued a Red Notice for his arrest on 20 November 2010. On 27 November, Assange surrendered to authorities and appeared before a Westminster judge. Bail was granted to him in December after his backers provided £240,000 in cash and sureties.

Then began a protracted period of legal back and forth that went on until June 2012, when Swedish prosecutors sought his extradition.

Assange's lawyers, among them the world-renowned Australian Geoffrey Robertson, replied that if he agreed to the extradition request, then he could be flown to the US from there.

On 19 June 2012, he jumped bail and took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy, seeking asylum in the South American country. British police surrounded the building and blocked any chance of his leaving.

Ecuador granted him asylum in August 2012. He has had to stay inside the four walls of the embassy since then. He was recently granted Ecuadorian citizenship.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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