Ecuador has cut off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s Internet access within the South American country’s London embassy, WikiLeaks said in a statement on its website Monday.
“We can confirm Ecuador cut Assange’s Internet access on Saturday at 5pm GMT,” the group said on its Twitter account.
WikiLeaks posted a series of e-mails purported to be from personal accounts of US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta. Ecuador’s foreign ministry declined to comment on Assange’s Internet access.
Assange has lived and worked at Ecuador’s embassy since 2012 under a grant of diplomatic asylum as he faces extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning about an alleged sexual offence.
Former Ecuadorian ambassador Mauricio Gandara said that President Rafael Correa’s government is under pressure for allowing Assange to use the embassy to distribute material that may interfere with the US campaign.
US officials have accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party e-mails and then providing WikiLeaks with sensitive documents aimed at undermining Clinton’s bid for the White House. Clinton’s campaign has declined to discuss the hacked e-mails.
“To cut off Assange’s Internet provides a means to deauthorise his activities,” Gandara said in a telephone interview from Quito.
Ecuador’s foreign ministry on Monday affirmed Assange’s asylum status, saying in a statement that “the protection of the Ecuadorean state will continue as long as the circumstances that motivated the concession of said asylum remain”. — (c) 2016 Bloomberg LP