Julian Assange's internet restricted - Ecuador
Wednesday 19 Oct 2016 1:04 p.m.
Julian Assange (Reuters)
Ecuador admits it has "temporarily restricted" the internet access of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at its London embassy after the whistleblowing site published documents from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
The foreign ministry said on Tuesday that while it stood by its decision in 2012 to grant Assange asylum, it does not interfere in foreign elections.
"In that respect, Ecuador, exercising its sovereign right, has temporarily restricted access to part of its communications systems in its UK embassy," it said in a statement.
Leftist President Rafael Correa's government said it was acting on its own and not ceding to foreign pressures.
The foreign ministry did not specify the extent of the restrictions on Mr Assange's access to the internet, saying only the restrictions on his communications would not affect WikiLeaks' ability to carry out its "journalistic activities".
The anti-secrecy website said Mr Assange lost connectivity on Sunday, sparking speculation Ecuador might have been pressured by the US due to the group's publication of hacked material linked to Ms Clinton, the US Democratic presidential candidate.
WikiLeaks said it activated "contingency plans" after Mr Assange's cut-off.
Mr Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador after a British court ordered the Australian be extradited to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual molestation case involving two female supporters.
Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, has long backed Assange's right to free speech and has also supported Ms Clinton.
"For the good of the United States and the world ... I would like Hillary to win," he told broadcaster Russia Today in September.