LONDON, Oct. 18 (UPI) — WikiLeaks blamed Ecuador for denial of Internet access to Julian Assange, who since 2012 has been granted asylum in the Ecuador Embassy in London.
The WikiLeaks co-founder’s access to the Internet was disrupted Monday by what the group called a “state party.” Late Monday, the organization alleged Ecuador was responsible.
Assange has lived in the Embassy since 2012, when he sought asylum from extradition to Sweden following a sexual assault investigation there. He said the Swedish investigation would eventually lead to his extradition to the United States to answer charges WikiLeaks released U.S. classified material on the Internet.
“In the presence of speculations in the last few hours, the Ecuadorean government ratifies the validity of the asylum given to Julian Assange four years ago,” a statement from Ecuadorian Foreign Relations Minister Guillaume Long said. “We confirm that the protection provided by the Ecuadorean state will continue while the circumstances that motivated the claim for asylum remain.”
Long made no reference to the disruption of Assange’s Internet link.
For the first time in nine days Monday, WikiLeaks did not publish emails it alleged were sent to or from John Podesta, a campaign adviser to U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The U.S. intelligence community and the Clinton campaign have suggested Russian intelligence agencies illegally obtained the emails and leaked them to WikiLeaks. The Clinton campaign has not confirmed the authenticity of the thousands of emails, but WikiLeaks has taken an adversarial position toward Clinton’s candidacy.
WikiLeaks said Assange’s Internet access was cut off shortly after it published emails containing transcripts of Clinton’s non-public, paid speeches to the investment firm Goldman Sachs.
WikiLeaks was operational on Monday, according to a Twitter message from the group saying it “activated the appropriate contingency plans.”