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Julian Assange allowed partial internet access by Ecuador: Wikileaks


Press Trust of India  |  London 

Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuador Embassy here since 2012, was allowed limited internet access by the south American nation, seven months after it disabled for alleged breach of asylum terms, Wikileaks has announced.

The 47-year-old Australian national, who remains in hiding in a back room of the Ecuadorean Embassy in central London six years after losing a legal battle against extradition to Sweden, was told that his "isolation regime" would be ended following talks between UN officials and the Ecuador President Lenin Moreno last week.

"Ecuador rolls back @JulianAssange isolation," WikiLeaks said in a message on Twitter on Sunday, and indicated that Assange's communications via phone and internet have been partially restored.

"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," said Kristinn Hrafnsson, Wikileaks' editor-in-chief.

"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 embassy without the threat of extradition to the United States," he said.

The Ecuador government had disconnected Assange's internet access in March after it claimed that he had breached "a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states".

Assange took refuge at the Ecuador Embassy in Knightsbridge in June 2012, having lost an appeal against extradition to Sweden for questioning on allegations of rape and sexual assault that went to the Supreme Court.

While the Swedish case has since been dropped, Assange is still wanted by Scotland Yard for breach of bail and faces arrest the moment he steps out of the diplomatically immune territory.

Assange, who claimed that the accusations were politically motivated, had been granted asylum six years ago by the Ecuador embassy on the grounds that he feared extradition to the United States to face imprisonment over WikiLeaks' publication of secret US military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mon, October 15 2018. 17:40 IST