On Tuesday, the country of Ecuador confirmed that it has restricted the internet access of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, citing recent releases affecting the United States presidential election and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states.
“In recent weeks, WikiLeaks has published a wealth of documents, impacting the U.S. election campaign,” said the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility in a statement. “Accordingly, Ecuador has exercised its sovereign right to temporarily restrict access to some of its private communications network within its Embassy in the United Kingdom.”
According to Wikileaks, Assange lost internet access this weekend shortly after publishing transcripts of paid speeches Hillary Clinton gave to investment bank Goldman Sachs. Tuesday morning, the organization suggested that the country had done so at the urging of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a claim that both American and Ecuadorian officials denied.
Nevertheless, Ecuador said it remains committed to providing political asylum to Assange, who has lived in the embassy since 2012 to avoid possible arrest and extradition related to Swedish rape and molestation allegations.
“Ecuador, in accordance with its tradition of defending human rights and protecting the victims of political persecution, reaffirms the asylum granted to Julian Assange and reiterates its intention to safeguard his life and physical integrity until he reaches a safe place,” said the country. “Ecuador’s foreign policy responds to sovereign decisions alone and does not yield to pressure from other states.