Assange presses Ecuador to grant basic rights under asylum


Julian Assange took legal action against Ecuador on Friday for violating his "fundamental rights" and limiting his access to the outside world.

WikiLeaks said its move comes nearly seven months after Ecuador "threatened to remove his protection and summarily cut off his access to the outside world, including by refusing to allow journalists and human rights organisations to see him".

But now - six months after Assange's internet access was cut off - WikiLeaks lawyer Baltasar Garzon says Assange's rights are being violated, and he's suing.

"The move comes nearly seven months after Ecuador threatened to remove his protection and summarily cut off his access to the outside world", the group said in a statement. The Australian ex-hacker sought asylum from Ecuador in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden.

WikiLeaks' statement said that the government had also rejected visits to Assange from Human Rights Watch General Counsel Dinah PoKempner, journalists and lawyers.

His internet and mobile phone access were partially restored on Sunday, according to both Wikileaks and Assange's legal adviser Greg Barns. "Ecuador's measures against Julian Assange have been widely condemned by the human rights community".

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It added that the embassy was requiring Assange's visitors - including journalists and lawyers - to disclose "private or political details such as their social media usernames".

Assange believes he would be handed over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents.

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.

Baltazar says there are no plans to take assange to Russian Federation, despite recent reports that Moscow tried to help him escape to years ago.

Julian Assange remains inside the Ecuadorian embassy. The US case against Julian Assange dates back to the Obama administration 2010, but has been expanded under Trump to include the biggest leak in Central Intelligence Agency history, Vault 7.

Assange was given sanctuary in the building by Moreno's predecessor Rafael Correa.