Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Julian Assange sues Ecuador for 'violating his rights and freedoms'

Julian Assange sues Ecuador for 'violating his rights and freedoms'

The move follows a deterioration in relations between the Ecuadorian government and the Wikileaks founder, who was granted refuge at Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 while on bail in the United Kingdom over sexual assault allegations against him in Sweden.

In a statement, WikiLeaks accused Ecuador of "violating" Assange's "fundamental rights and freedoms".

The case, which is being launched in Ecuador by Wikileaks lawyer Baltasar Garzon, is expected to be heard in a domestic court next week.

Wikileaks claim Mr Assange's access to the outside world has been "summarily cut off" and say Ecuador has threatened to remove the protection he has had since being given political asylum.

It said Ecuador's government had refused to allow a visit by Human Rights Watch's general counsel Dinah PoKempner and stopped several meetings with Assange's lawyers.

A statement said: "Ecuador's measures against Julian Assange have been widely condemned by the human rights community".

Quito confirmed blocking Assange's internet and mobile phone access in March after accusing him of breaking "a written commitment" not to interfere in Ecuador's foreign policies.

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He was also prohibited from any receiving guest beside his team of lawyers, a move which effectively cut him off from the world.

Mr Assange's communication privileges were restored only over the last weekend, when the embassy sent him a nine-page memo filled with a new set of house rules.

The WikiLeaks Twitter account stated on Thursday that "after USA pressure", moves had accelerated to grant Assange Ecuadorian citizenship.

Mr Assange's lawyers also said they were challenging the legality of the Ecuador government's "special protocol" - which makes his political asylum dependent on "censoring" his freedom of opinion, speech and association.

"Mention of the cat is degrading", Garzon said, adding that Assange is ill due to his prolonged confinement in the embassy.

The website reported that the embassy intends to stop paying for Assange's food and medical care in December.

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