The government of Ecuador announced Wednesday that it cut off Julian Assange’s internet access.
Among his supporters denouncing the development was Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom—himself facing possible extradition to the U.S.—who said that Ecuador was “making a grave mistake. The internet will rise up against this injustice.”
Ecuador granted the WikiLeaks founder asylum in August 2012, and he’s been living in the Ecuadoran embassy in London ever since. And while Sweden dropped its investigation into him, he still faces the threat of arrest in the U.K. and extradition to the United States.
Ecuador said the cutoff, which began Tuesday, was due to Assange purportedly having violated a written agreement from 2017 that he would not send messages that might cause an “interference” with regard to other nations. It did not reference a specific message or tweet.
Assange’s most recent tweet was from Tuesday morning. It included a link to a Reuters article that referenced British foreign affairs minister Alan Duncan saying, “It’s about time that this miserable little worm walked out of the embassy and gave himself up to British justice.” Assange tweeted in response: “As a political prisoner detained without charge for 8 years, in violation of 2 UN rulings, I suppose I must be ‘miserable’; yet nothing wrong with being a ‘little’ person although I’m rather tall; and better a ‘worm.’ a healthy creature that invigorates the soil, than a snake.”
On Monday one of his tweets was about former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who was arrested on Sunday in Germany on a European arrest warrant.
In a series of other tweets on Monday, he criticized the U.S. expulsion of Russian diplomats following a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in the living in the U.K., and called the evidence thus far showing Russia is behind the attempted murder “circumstantial.”
Dotcom is urging people to send messages to Ecuadoran President Lenín Moreno to pressure him to restore the access.
A similar call was made in a joint statement by Greek economist and former minister Yanis Varoufakis and noted British music producer Brian Eno.
The pair argues,”Only extraordinary pressure from the U.S. and the Spanish governments can explain why Ecuador’s authorities should have taken such appalling steps in isolating Julian.”
They go on to assert that “the only reason Julian is holed up in Ecuador’s London Embassy—and why Ecuador gave him asylum in the first place—is precisely because he empowered whistleblowers’ freedom of expression and defended our right to know the truth about practices of the U.S. and other Western powers that the latter found ‘inconvenient’ once exposed to the light of day.”
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