Julian Assange banned from political activity by Ecuador embassy and ordered to take care of his cat

WikiLeaks founder must also clean the bathroom, says memo

Harriet Agerholm
Tuesday 16 October 2018 14:32 BST
The transparency activist initially sought sanctuary in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden
The transparency activist initially sought sanctuary in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden (Getty)

Ecuador has set new house rules for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that include banning him from making political statements and ordering him to take better care of his cat.

An internal memo also said Mr Assange, who has been living in Ecuador’s UK embassy since 2012, must clean the bathroom.

To keep access to the internet, he has been told to refrain from activities “that could prejudice Ecuador’s good relations with other states”, the nine-page document said.

The embassy cut off the transparency activist’s internet in March, saying he was potentially harming its diplomatic ties with Britain and other EU member states, after Mr Assange challenged Britain’s claim that Russia had carried out a nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

Mr Assange’s cat is seen wearing a collar and tie as it looks out of the window of the Ecuadorian embassy

It also severed his telephone communications and restricted his visitors to members of his legal team.

Under the new rules, diplomatic staff must formally approve all of Mr Assange’s visitors three days in advance.

The embassy partially restored the WikiLeaks founder’s internet access over the weekend, but he will only be able to used the wifi for his personal computer and phone.

He and his guests are banned from using “unauthorised equipment” in the building, the memo written in Spanish and published on the Ecuadorian Código Vidrio website said.

The embassy retains “the right to authorise security personnel to seize equipment” or ask British authorities to do the same, it said.

Ecuador said Mr Assange was responsible for the “wellbeing, food, hygiene and proper care” of his pet cat and that they would remove the animal if the activist did not look after it. The memo also urged the 47-year-old to keep his bathroom clean.

Ecuador will not help fund the controversial figure’s stay in its embassy from December 2018, the memo stated, leaving him to pay for his food, laundry and private medical checkups.

Failure to comply with the new rules “could lead to the termination of the diplomatic asylum granted by the Ecuadorian state”, the document said.

The transparency activist sought sanctuary in the embassy six years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about rape allegations. Although the investigation was dropped last year, Mr Assange still faces a UK charge for skipping bail.

Mr Assange fears he may be deported to the US over WikiLeaks’ release of 500,000 secret military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Independent has contacted WikiLeaks and the Ecuadorian embassy for comment.

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