Ecuador ‘will no longer intervene with the UK’ on Assange’s behalf

‘We are not his lawyers’: Julian Assange is told Ecuador will no longer intervene with the UK on his behalf after he took them to court over his pet cat

  • Ecuador said it has ‘no responsibility to take any further steps’ in Assange case
  • It said the country’s only responsibility was looking after Assange’s wellbeing
  • It comes after the Australian WikiLeaks founder sued the South American country over conditions placed on his asylum at his London embassy bolthole
  • New terms of his asylum required him to pay for medical bills and telephone calls and to clean up after his pet cat

Ecuador will not intervene with the British government on behalf of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over his situation in the South American country’s London embassy, an official has said.

Foreign Minister José Valencia said Ecuador’s only responsibility was looking after Assange’s wellbeing, after the Australian national sued the country over new conditions placed on his asylum in the London embassy.  

‘Ecuador has no responsibility to take any further steps,’ Valencia told Reuters. ‘We are not Mr. Assange’s lawyers, nor are we representatives of the British government. This is a matter to be resolved between Assange and Great Britain.’

Valencia said he was ‘frustrated’ by Assange’s decision to file suit in an Ecuadorean court last week over new terms of his asylum, which required him to pay for medical bills and telephone calls and to clean up after his pet cat.

Ecuador will not intervene with the British government on behalf of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (pictured in May last year) over his situation in the South American country’s London embassy, an official said

‘There is no obligation in international agreements for Ecuador to pay for things like Mr. Assange’s laundry,’ he said.  

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment after normal business hours.


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Greg Barns, an Australian lawyer advising Assange, said in an email that ‘developments in the case in recent times’ showed the need for Australia’s government to intervene to assist ‘one of its citizens who faces real danger.’

This position marks a departure from Ecuador’s previous practice of maintaining dialogue with British authorities over Assange’s situation since granting him asylum in 2012, when he took refuge in Ecuador’s London Embassy after British courts ordered his extradition to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual molestation case.

Assange filed a suit in an Ecuadorean court last week over new terms of his asylum, which required him to pay for medical bills and telephone calls and to clean up after his pet cat

That case has since been dropped, but friends and supporters have said that Assange now fears he could be arrested and eventually extradited to the United States if he leaves the embassy.

WikiLeaks, which published U.S. diplomatic and military secrets when Assange ran the operation, faces a U.S. grand jury investigation.

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno has said that asylum is not meant to be eternal, but he has expressed concern about the possibility that Assange may be extradited to the United States. Valencia said on Tuesday that he has not discussed Assange’s situation with the United States’ government.

Last December, Ecuador granted Assange Ecuadorean citizenship and sought to name him as a member of the country’s diplomatic mission in Britain and Russia, which could have assured him safe passage to leave the embassy. Britain denied the request.

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