Just hours after Washington called on Julian Assange to testify before the US Senate Intelligence Committee as part of their Russia investigation, Ecuador’s foreign minister has come under fire after claiming that refugees were prohibited under international law from making political comments, effectively gagging the WikiLeaks founder.
As RT reports, Jose Valencia made the statement in an interview with El Universo when asked about Assange’s ongoing asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Speculation has mounted in recent weeks that Ecuador is preparing to hand over the WikiLeaks founder to British authorities.
The new chancellor of Ecuador said that “according to international law and the conventions that regulate asylum, a person who is isolated cannot make pronouncements that affect the relationship of Ecuador with other countries.”
This also means that a refugee cannot interfere in the internal political situations of other countries, according to Valencia
The statement comes just days after Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said that Assange had been told to refrain from intervening in the “politics and self-determination” of the country or face consequences.
This prompted rightly furious reactions from WikiLeaks supporters, including Kim Dotcom and journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Intercept co-editor Greenwald took the comments to task, questioning when this rule was created and if it was a generally accepted clause, tweeting that it seemed “bizarre” and “contradictory” that a government would grant someone asylum on the grounds that their fundamental rights were being abridged through persecution, only to tell them they’re forbidden from engaging in global political debates.
Is this a generally accepted rule now in international asylum law: that once a government grants someone asylum (along with citizenship) to protect them from political persecution, the asylee is barred from speaking out on international politics? When did this rule get created? https://t.co/UfM7GbSWNc— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 8, 2018
He continued the thread, lashing out by questioning if this was applicable to Western governments, “or does it only apply to small, subservient governments like Lenin’s?”
However, response of the day went to Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who pulled no punches in his response to Ecuador’s latest remarks on Assange’s asylum. “Ecuador is now run by intestinal worms living in the anus of US Empire,” the internet entrepreneur and privacy activist said.
Seems pretty clear what his opinion is.
Conditions have continued to worsen for Assange as we note that Moreno declared in June that Assange’s right to asylum would only be honored if he “respects the conditions” of political silence... so solitary confinement, in a now hostile embassy disallowing any conversation about his freedom since that would necessarily be 'political' - and for what!!??