One year ago Thursday, Ecuador’s government under President Lenin Moreno silenced Julian Assange.
WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter Wednesday: “… March 28, marks one year that WikiLeakspublisher Julian Assange has been illegally gagged from doing journalism—any writing that expresses a ‘political opinion’? even on his own treatment, after pressure from the U.S. on Ecuador.”
On this date in 2018 Moreno imposed on Assange what Human Rights Watch’s legal counsel Dinah Pokempner described as looking “more and more like solitary confinement.” Moreno cut off Assange’s online access and restricted visitors to the Ecuador embassy in London where Assange has had legal political asylum since 2012.
Moreno cited Assange’s critical social media remarks about Ecuador’s allies, the U.S. and Spain. Assange’s near-total isolation, with the exception of visits from legal counsel during week days, has been augmented by the Ecuadorian government’s imposition of a complex “protocol,” which, although eased slightly in recent months in respect of visits allowed, has not improved Assange’s overall status over the last 12 months. In some respects, it seems to have worsened.
Truck in D.C.,March 28, 2019. (Pamela Drew, Twitter)
WikiLeaks’ Courage Foundation described the terms of the protocol:
“Explicit threats to revoke Julian’s asylum if he, or any visitors, breach or are perceived to breach, any of the 28 ‘rules’ in the protocol. The ‘protocol’ forbids Julian from undertaking journalism and expressing his opinions, under threat of losing his asylum. The rules also state that the embassy can seize Julian’s property or his visitors’ property and hand these to the UK police, and report visitors to the UK authorities. The protocol also requires visitors to provide the IMEI codes and serial numbers of electronic devices used inside the embassy, and states that this private information may be shared with undisclosed agencies.”
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