Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, has been granted his internet access back at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after a meeting with two senior UN officials and Ecuador’s President, Lenin Moreno, last Friday, sparking the ‘isolation regime’ placed upon him to be removed.
Since March, the Wikileaks founder has had no internet or phone access, and had been limited to only visits from his legal team. Reportedly, Assange’s communication benefits were taken from him after he allegedly criticised Ecuador’s allies from the embassy.
Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy for over six years, and in March, Ecuador removed his rights to communication as he had breached ‘a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states’.
Upon the news of Assange partly regaining his communication rights, Wikileaks released a statement: “Ecuador has told WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it will remove the isolation regime imposed on him following meetings between two senior UN officials and Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno on Friday.”
Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor and chief of Wikileaks said, “It is positive that through UN intervention, Ecuador has partly ended the isolation of Mr Assange, although it is of grave concern that his freedom to express his opinions is still limited.”
“The UN has already declared Mr Assange a victim of arbitrary detention. This unacceptable situation must end.’
“The UK government must abide by the UN’s ruling and guarantee that he can leave the Ecuadorian embassy without the threat of extradition to the United States.”
Julian Assange’s political asylum in the Ecuador embassy remains, even after the false rape allegations from Sweden were dropped in May last year, however, if he leaves the embassy, he believes that he may be extradited to the United States over the activities of Wikileaks.
Wikileaks said that Assange never entered into any agreement to limit or restrict his freedom of speech. Julian’s lawyers are now considering legal options, and will make a statement on the matter in the near future.
The statement from Wikileaks state that the meeting was held in Ecuador between the president and UN high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, and UN special rapporteur for freedom of expression, David Kaye, last Friday, making the ruling to grant Assange’s internet access and communications back to him.
The Wikileaks statement went on to state, ”Concern over Mr Assange’s situation has also been raised by other UN bodies, as well as Human Rights Watch (who was refused access to him), Amnesty International, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, Ecuador’s Permanent Human Rights Commission, and public protests. Mr Assange was informed of Ecuador’s decision hours after Mr Grandi and Mr Kaye met with President Moreno.’
President Moreno ruled for the Wikileaks founder’s “isolation” on March 28th, because he gave “opinions on the politics of friendly nations like Spain or the United States”.
“Mr Assange had critically reported on the Trump administration’s involvement in Yemen and Spanish police brutality. High level representations were made by the Trump administration and the Spanish government over Mr Assange, who was given political refugee status by Ecuador in 2012 over US attempts to prosecute him.”
“The Trump administrations stepped up efforts to prosecute Mr Assange after WikiLeaks published the largest leak in the history of the CIA last year.”
“The US has announced that it now considers Ecuador a ‘strategic ally’ and helped it secure a billion dollars in previously withheld loans.”
“For almost seven months, Ecuador has kept Mr Assange in a regime that has been likened to solitary confinement by Human Rights Watch. Ecuador has prevented Mr Assange from receiving visitors other than his lawyers. It installed three sets of signal jammers in the embassy, to prevent Mr Assange from communicating using mobile phones or internet.”
“The extrajudicial seven-month isolation of Mr Assange has interfered with his fundamental rights and the rights of his family. It has also prevented Mr Assange from working and giving public talks.”
“Ecuador has also prevented all journalists from speaking to him during this time. Ecuador’s President until last year, Rafael Correa, has denounced Mr Assange’s treatment as ‘torture’ stating ‘the government is basically attacking Julian’s mental health'”.
“Ecuador has informed Mr Assange that the government intends to continue Moreno’s policy of restricting him from expressing his opinions under threat of expulsion.”
So there you have it! There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, and whilst we don’t know what will happen next for the Wikileaks founder, at least he has part of his rights to communications back, which is one step in the right direction.
Story by The Narrator
Featured Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal