WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been banned from receiving visitors and phone calls under new rules announced by the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been ensconced since 2012.
Pilger: ‘Silencing of Assange Part of Campaign to Limit Speech’
Assange has found himself increasingly isolated within the embassy in the United Kingdom. In March, his internet access was blocked after he violated an agreement not to comment publicly on international affairs.
On Twitter, Assange had condemned Britain’s response to the poisoning of Russian former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. He also commented on Spain‘s dispute with Catalonia.
At the time, the Ecuadorean government said Assange had breached a written commitment "not to issue messages that might interfere with other states."
Speaking on Wednesday, Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa confirmed Assange’s communications were being restricted while the governments of Ecuador and the United Kingdom continue to debate his fate.
"He still has no access to the internet and communications," Espinosa told El Tiempo. "There is a dialogue, there is a will and an interest to move forward in the solution of that matter.
"Both countries have the intention and the interest that this be resolved, that an exit is found that allows better conditions for Assange. It is necessary to gather several subjects to reach a definitive agreement."
WikiLeaks claims Assange has been silenced because of pressure from the United States and says Ecuador’s description of the situation as a "social media ban" fails to explain the degree to which he’s being held "incommunicado."
Assange faced extradition to Sweden over allegations he sexually assaulted two women, but he fled to the Ecuador’s U.K. embassy after violating his bail and remains the subject of an arrest warrant.
He said at the time that he feared Sweden might extradite him to the United States, where he faces charges over WikiLeaks’ release of classified U.S. government cables and documents.