WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will regain partial internet access following a seven-month ban instituted by the Ecuadorian government.
In March, Ecuadorian officials barred Assange, who was granted political asylum in its London embassy over six years ago, from accessing the Internet, accusing the Australian-born hacker of breaching “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states.” In addition, Ecuador says Assange “put at risk the good relations [Ecuador] maintains with the United Kingdom, with the other states of the European Union, and with other nations.”
“Ecuador has told WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it will remove the isolation regime imposed on him following meetings between two senior U.N. officials and Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno on Friday,” WikiLeaks said in a statement.
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson credited the United Nations for Ecuador’s decision to lift the ban, while calling on the United States and United Kindom to allow Assange to leave the embassy “without the threat of extradition.”
“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,” Hrafnsson said. “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 lawyer and advisor Greg Barn told Australia’s iTWire that the WikiLeaks founder is in poor health after being denied access to medical treatment in the last six years.
“What is remarkable is that Julian remains so mentally alert and is able to function physically given the inevitable impact of six years detention without natural light or access to fresh air on a constant basis,” Barns told the news outlet. “However if there is not a resolution to his case — in other words, the UK guaranteeing that he will not be extradited to the US — the reality is Julian’s health will deteriorate to the point where his life is in serious danger.”