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Ecuadorian embassy cut Julian Assange's internet connection 'to prevent interference in US election'

Move came after Assange's whistleblowing website WikiLeaks released another batch of emails from the campaign manager of US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

Published 19/10/2016

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange

Ecuador's government has confirmed it has “temporarily restricted” WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange's internet access at its embassy in London.

It came after the whistleblowing site released another batch of emails from the campaign manager of US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Ecuador's foreign ministry said it did not interfere in foreign elections but stood by its decision in 2012 to grant Mr Assange asylum.

"In that respect, Ecuador, exercising its sovereign right, has temporarily restricted access to part of its communications systems in its UK Embassy," it added in a statement.

"The Ecuador government respects the principle of non-intervention in other countries' affairs, it does not meddle in election processes underway, nor does it support any candidate specially."

Mr Assange, who is wanted for questioning in Sweden over a sex allegation, has been living inside Ecuador's London-based embassy for more than four years.

WikiLeaks claimed that US secretary of state John Kerry wanted Mr Assange to stop publishing documents while talks on a peace deal continued between Colombia's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), and the Colombian government.

An accord signed with the left-wing rebel group was narrowly rejected in a national referendum.

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WikiLeaks said in new tweets: “Multiple US sources tell us John Kerry asked Ecuador to stop Assange from publishing Clinton docs during FARC peace negotiations."

The State Department denied the allegation and Mr Correa's leftist government said it was acting on its own and not ceding to foreign pressures.

The Ecuadorian ministry did not give details about the type of restrictions placed on Mr Assange's internet access, but stated that it would not would not change WikiLeaks' ability to carry out its journalistic activities.

Mr Assange believes that if he leaves the embassy he will be extradited to the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks claimed there had been an “elaborate plot” to falsely claim Mr Assange received money from the Russian government and a second plot to “frame” him for sexually molesting an eight-year-old girl.

The second plot includes the filing of a fabricated criminal complaint in the Bahamas, a court complaint in the UK and laundering part of the attack through the United Nations, it was claimed.

Independent News Service

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