Wikileaks' Julian Assange sues Ecuador for violating his 'rights and freedoms'

He's been living at the country's embassy in London since 2012.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
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Marrian Zhou
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addresses the media from the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London in 2017.

Justin Tallis / AFP/Getty Images

Julian Assange is taking legal action against Ecuador, whose London embassy has hosted the  Wikileaks  founder since 2012.

Assange is suing the Ecuadorian government for violating his "fundamental rights and freedoms," according to a Wikileaks' statement on Friday. Wikileaks' lawyer Baltasar Garzón arrived in Ecuador to file the case, the organization said.

Assange moved into the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations, which he has denied. The investigation into Assange was dropped last year, but he remains in self-imposed exile due to fear he could still be arrested by UK police for breaching bail conditions. Assange says such an arrest could be followed by extradition to the US to face espionage charges.

Ecuador allegedly refused to let Assange meet with Dinah PoKempner, general counsel of Human Rights Watch, or his lawyers on several occasions, according to the Wikileaks statement. The embassy set house rules for Assange this week, allegedly censors Assange's speech and association, and requires journalists, his lawyers and anyone who wishes to see him to share information, such as social media usernames and serial numbers of devices with Ecuador. 

The rules also require Assange to take better care of his cat, according to BBC. The embassy reportedly threatened to take the pet away if he doesn't look after it.

In September, Wikileaks said Assange had been "held incommunicado (except visits by his lawyers) for six months while arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy." That prompted the organization to appoint Kristinn Hrafnsson as its new editor in chief.

The embassy cut off Assange's internet access in March because the Wikileaks founder violated an agreement with the country not to interfere in its relations with other countries.

Neither the Ecuadorian embassy nor Wikileaks immediately responded to requests for comment.