Ecuador cuts off Julian Assange's internet access

Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012. Today, the President of Ecuador apparently ordered his internet access cut over a tweet the President felt endangered Ecuador’s relationship with Europe. From the BBC:

Ecuador has cut Julian Assange’s internet connection at its embassy in London, preventing him from communicating with the outside world.

The move is to prevent the WikiLeaks founder from interfering in other countries’ affairs, Ecuador said.

It comes after Mr Assange questioned accusations that Moscow was responsible for the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter in the UK on 4 March…

He was initially staying in London to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sex crimes, which the 46-year-old has always denied.

The Swedish authorities have since dropped their investigation, but Mr Assange believes he will be extradited to the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves the building.

That’s a reference to a series of tweets Assange issued Monday criticizing the response to the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter on UK soil.

Technically, he’s not defending Russia but that’s sort of the gist of what he’s saying, i.e. the UK hasn’t proven its case Russia was responsible. Shortly after he published these tweets a British foreign affairs minister referred to him as a “miserable little worm.” But according to Wikileaks own Twitter account, the tweets about the UK and Russia were not the ones that led to him being cut off.

Here’s the tweet in question:

Ecuador is claiming that Assange has an agreement not to tweet anything which would hurt diplomatic relations with other countries. From the Telegraph.

As part of an agreement allowing him to stay at Ecuador’s embassy, Assange is forbidden from sending any messages that would interfere with the country’s diplomatic relations other nations.

“He violated that agreement,” said Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador’s minister of foreign affairs.

She added that Ecuador’s government would be sending of a group of diplomats to meet with Assange’s legal team in London next week while also continuing a dialogue with British officials on how to resolve “an inherited problem.”

But Wikileaks is denying that claim:

There is now a #ReconnectJulian hashtag and apparently a gathering outside the embassy itself to protest the decision.