Judge rejects Assange request to skirt new rules at London embassy

A judge has rejected a request by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to overturn new house rules at the Ecuadorian Embassy where he’s been living for six years.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said he will appeal a judge's ruling Monday that upheld new rules at the Ecuador Embassy in London, where he's lived since 2012. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said he will appeal a judge’s ruling Monday that upheld new rules at the Ecuador Embassy in London, where he’s lived since 2012. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Assange, who took refuge at the embassy in London in 2012, said the new rules were meant to end his stay at the behest of the United States and Britain. He sought asylum there to duck extradition to Sweden for sexual assault charges. Those charges were dropped last year, but London police said he can still be arrested on other charges in Britain.

The new rules bar Assange from commenting on affairs that could harm Ecuador’s foreign relations, set new guidelines on visitation privileges and require him to clean up after his cat.

Ecuadoran Judge Karina Martinez on Monday ruled against Assange’s request for an injunction against the rules, saying Ecuador’s foreign ministry has the right to determine his living conditions as long as he lives in the embassy.

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Assange said the Ecuadorian government is trying to end his six-year stay at the embassy.

Assange’s attorneys said they’re planning an appeal.

In March, the embassy suspended Assange’s Internet communication at the building for the second time since 2016, saying he failed to stick to an agreement that he would not post messages that interfered with other nations’ affairs.

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“Ecuador’s government warns that Assange’s behavior through his social media messages puts in risk the good relationship the country has with the U.K., other EU countries and other nations,” Ecuadoran officials said at the time.

Assange has said the new limits keep him from meeting his children and working as a journalist. Earlier this month, he instructed his attorneys to sue the Ecuadoran government for violating his fundamental rights.

Wikileaks, which Assange started in 2006, has collected and posts confidential information on governments and was behind the released of thousands of embarrassing emails connected with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

ByClyde Hughes