Julian Assange's twitter account has started tweeting again, but not because Ecuadorian authorities have restored his access to the Internet. Instead, his Twitter account has been taken over by a group of supporters leading the campaign to #ReconnectJulian.
In late March, the Ecuadorian government decided to suspend Assange's Internet access due to his controversial tweets in support of Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan leader who had been detained in Germany. Ecuador's new government, according to RT, was facing intense diplomatic pressure from its European ally, Spain.
Assange's supporters announced their takeover in a tweet:
Julian Assange has been gagged and isolated from visitors and communications after heightened pressure. This is on top of his six years without access to sunlight and arbitrary detention in violation of two UN rulings. Account now run by his campaign. https://t.co/cbM33Ng42C pic.twitter.com/LLeERI5knj— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) April 23, 2018
Here’s a translation of a statement released by the government of Ecuador late last month when it decided to suspend Assange's Internet access, phone access and ability to receive visitors because Assange had refused to stop commenting on the political affairs of other nations.
The Government of Ecuador suspended the systems that allow Julian Assange to communicate with the outside world from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the citizen remains in an international protection situation for six years due to the risk to his life and integrity.
The measure was adopted in the face of Assange’s failure to comply with the written commitment it assumed with the Government at the end of 2017, for which it was obliged not to issue messages that implied interference with other States.
The Government of Ecuador warns that the behavior of Assange, with its messages through social networks, puts at risk the good relations that the country maintains with the United Kingdom, with the rest of the States of the European Union and other nations. Therefore, to prevent potential damage, the embassy in London interrupted this March 27 communications abroad to which Assange has access.
The Executive also keeps open the way to the adoption of new measures in the face of breach of commitment by Assange.
Shortly after the statement was released, supporters of Assange gathered in front of the embassy in London where they stood in solidarity for hours.
In the weeks that followed, the campaign to restore Assange's Internet access has picked up many high-profile supporters including Brian Eno, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, journalist John Pilger and Noam Chomsky; a petition demanding an end to Assange's isolation has garnered more than 65,000 signatures.
Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since he sought asylum there in 2012. Assange entered the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden which had wanted him for questioning in regard to an alleged sexual assault. Assange feared that if he was brought into custody in Sweden, it would only be a matter of time before he was extradited to the US, where he would face charges over Wikileaks' publishing of US diplomatic cables and other sensitive information, per RT.
Ecuador had granted him citizenship in December in a failed attempt to allow him to leave under diplomatic immunity. However, Ecuador's new president, Lenin Moreno, is less sympathetic to Assange's cause, considering him an "inherited problem" from the government of Rafael Correa.
The fate of Assange will become an especially sensitive issue once former CIA director Mike Pompeo, with whom Assange has repeatedly clashed, becomes Trump's new Secretary of State following his imminent confirmation.