News and Commentary

He’s Baaack! Julian Assange Has WiFi Again

After putting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in solitary confinement by effectively banning his internet usage, Ecuadorian embassy has restored the controversial figure’s WiFi usage, allowing him communication with the outside world.

According to The Guardian, “Ecuador has partly restored Julian Assange’s communications with the outside world from its London embassy where the WikiLeaks founder has been living for over six years.”

Assange had his internet privileges suspended back in March in an attempt to curtail the WikiLeaks founder from interfering in other countries’ affairs. According to the BBC, the straw that broke the camel’s back was Assange’s questioning “accusations that Moscow was responsible for the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter in the UK.” The Ecuadorian government views Assange’s move as something that could endanger their relations with the United Kingdom.

“The measure was adopted in the face of Assange’s failure to comply with a written commitment he assumed with the government at the end of 2017, under which he was obliged not to issue messages that would interfere with other states,” the Ecuadorian government said in a statement.

The ban on Assange’s communication became so severe that he was forbidden from all social media, phone calls, or even visitors. WikiLeaks said in a recent statement that Ecuador has reversed this measure.

“Ecuador has told WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it will remove the isolation regime imposed on him following meetings between two senior UN officials and Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, on Friday,” said the organization.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, said: “It is positive that through U.N. 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. The U.N. has already declared Mr. Assange a victim of arbitrary detention. This unacceptable situation must end. The U.K. government must abide by the U.N.’s ruling and guarantee that he can leave the Ecuadorian embassy without the threat of extradition to the United States.”

The WikiLeaks founder has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden over alleged sex crimes; he has vehemently denied the charges, calling them a conspiracy against him. Though the Swedish authorities have dropped the investigation against Assange, he will not be given political asylum for fear that he would be extradited to the United States for questioning over WikiLeaks activities.