WikiLeaks founder has internet access restored by Ecuadorian Government
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has had his internet access and visitation privileges restored by the Ecuadorian Government for his ongoing stay of asylum in their London embassy.
Ecuador has granted Assange a partial restoration of his communications after they were cut in March, but the infamous whistleblower must now adhere to strict new rules, which have just been leaked.
For the last few months, Assange has been denied access to the internet or phones, with his visitors limited to only members of his legal team.
The Australian computer programmer and editor of WikiLeaks has been living inside Ecuador’s embassy in London for over six years.
In March, the Ecuadorian government said it cut-off Mr. Assange’s privileges because 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.”
Wikileaks said in 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, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, added: “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.”
WikiLeaks supporters have been thrilled that the founder will again be able to connect with the outside world, but his hosts – who in some ways can be likened to his jailers – have imposed a strict set of rules on Assange.
A nine-page document has already been leaked online that states that while he is allowed to exercise his “right of communication and freedom of expression,” the Ecuadorian Government has imposed a long list of restrictions on his behavior.
According to new rules, the journalist is forbidden from engaging in political activity or doing anything to interfere in the affairs of other states.
According to RT, the document expressly states that Ecuador cannot be held liable for the content of Assange’s communications, but nevertheless prohibits him from engaging in activities that might damage the relationship between Ecuador and other states.
Assange’s communications were cut seven months ago after he criticized Spanish authorities’ treatment of voters during the Catalan independence referendum.
Assange must pay for his own WiFi.
He must use only his own devices, absent written government permission, and provide the embassy with serial number, model number, and brand name for those devices.
He must also pay for his own medical evaluations, with the option of transferring to a hospital in case of an emergency – an option repeatedly denied him by UK authorities, who refused to guarantee safe passage without arrest in the event of such a transfer.
Assange’s health has been the subject of much concern during his six-year confinement in the Embassy.
LEAKED: Here Are the Demands Ecuador Has Given Julian Assange in Order to End His Isolation https://t.co/8VytPpsTPc
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 15, 2018
Visitors are also slapped with new restrictions.
They must submit visit requests in writing to the embassy chief, giving their name, nationality, profession and place of work, the reason for visiting, email and social media accounts, and even the serial numbers for phones and other devices they wish to bring inside.
The new rules even mandate the collection of IMEIs, unique identification numbers specific to a phone handset.
While repeat visitors receive a less restrictive screening process, they can have their access revoked at any time without an explanation.
All visitor data will be turned over to the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other unspecified parties.
The restrictions include a threat to use UK police to arrest visitors or seize communications equipment should the journalist violate the lengthy list of rules.
Adding insult to injury, the embassy threatened to remove Assange’s cat to a shelter should they decide he is not cleaning up after the animal properly.
Citing budget cuts, the document adds that the Embassy will cease to pay for Assange’s food, medical care, laundry, and related expenses on December 1.
From that point, only water, heat, electricity, communications, and rent will be paid for.
Violation of the rules, according to the document, will result in revocation of asylum.
It is unclear what such a revocation would mean for Assange’s Ecuadorian citizenship, which he was granted in 2017.
Moreno has made no secret of his desire to be rid of the man he has called an “inherited problem,” while the Trump administration has declared its intention to prosecute Assange.