Ecuador Has Taken Away Famous Online Man Julian Assange’s Internet Access
Someone's been naughty.
The Ecuadorian embassy where Julian Assange has been hanging out for the past few years has cut off his internet access this morning, saying the whistleblower breached an agreement not to tweet stuff that might jeopardise Ecuador’s relations with other countries.
Specifically, Assange recently tweeted criticism of the arrest of a Catalonian separatist leader, which Ecuador said “put at risk” its diplomatic relations.
In many ways, the move is much like that of a frustrated parent resorting to desperate measures to discipline their unruly teenage son, except in Assange’s case cutting off his internet effectively cuts off all of his contact with the outside world. Assange, if you’ve forgotten, is the Wikileaks dude who’s been stuck in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 — he’s technically free to leave, but he’ll be arrested if he does.
The news of his internet privileges being revoked has really divided punters. Some people seem to be relieved to have a brief reprieve from Assange’s tweets, while his supporters have launched the hashtag #ReconnectJulian and called on people to rally outside the embassy and demand he be allowed back online.
Just to be clear: The Ecuadorian Embassy didn't just randomly cut off Julian Assange's internet connection. They did it because he breached a written agreement, signed in 2017, stating that he would not interfere in other countries' business. https://t.co/wWTpiHTTeL
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) March 28, 2018
Please don’t use a stupid gagging agreement to justify your silencing of Julian Assange. We love Ecuador for having supported Julian and his free speech for years. But you are making a grave mistake. The Internet will rise up against this injustice. We say #ReconnectJulian NOW! https://t.co/7R2cuSxSck
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) March 28, 2018
Assange is a political prisoner explicitly because he speaks truth to power using the internet. Cutting off his internet access for doing the very thing for which he was granted asylum contradicts the reason he was granted that asylum in the first place. #ReconnectJulian
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) March 28, 2018
Amazing no one thought of this earlier. https://t.co/LI052OpAtw
— Tom McIlroy (@TomMcIlroy) March 28, 2018
A live feed from outside the Ecuadorian embassy appears to show three or four people gathered outside with signs saying “Free Assange”. There’s a slightly larger online vigil going, which would be nice for Assange if he could log on to see it.
Live from outside Ecuadorian Embassy in London amidst reports of Assange’s internet shutdown https://t.co/gNPoIGLAcn
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) March 28, 2018
This incident isn’t the first time Ecuador has cut off Assange’s internet access, but it’s the first time it hasn’t clearly stated that the punishment is temporary. I guess we’ll find out in coming days whether the embassy means it this time.