Julian Assange to launch legal action against Ecuador
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to launch legal action against the government of Ecuador, accusing it of violating his "fundamental rights and freedoms".
The move comes several months after Ecuador cut off communications for Australian Assange, who has been living inside the country's embassy in London for over six years.
WikiLeaks lawyer Baltasar Garzon has arrived in Ecuador to launch the case, which is set to be heard in a domestic court next week.
WikiLeaks said Ecuador had threatened to remove the protection Mr Assange has had since being granted political asylum, and added that his access to the outside world had been "summarily cut off."
It comes as documents released by the Ecuadorean government earlier this week laid bare an unorthodox attempt to extricate the WikiLeaks founder from the embassy by naming him as a political counsellor to the country's embassy in Moscow.
But the 47-year-old Australian's new career in international affairs was nipped in the bud when British authorities vetoed his diplomatic status, effectively blocking him from taking up the post in Russia.
The files were made public on Tuesday by Ecuadorean opposition lawmaker Paola Vintimilla, who opposes her government's decision to grant Mr Assange nationality.
They largely corroborate a recent Guardian newspaper report that Ecuador attempted the elaborate maneuver to get Mr Assange to Moscow just before Christmas last year.
Russian diplomats called the Guardian's story "fake news," but the government files show Mr Assange briefly was made "political counsellor" to the Ecuadorean Embassy in Moscow and eligible for a monthly salary pegged at US$2,000.
Ecuador also applied for a diplomatic ID card, the documents show, but the plan appears to have fallen apart with the British veto.
A letter dated December 21, 2017 from Britain's Foreign Office said UK officials "do not consider Mr Julian Assange to be an acceptable member of the mission."
An eight-page memo to Ms Vintimilla summing up the episode noted that Mr Assange's position as counsellor was scrapped a few days later.
© PAA 2018