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Ecuador cuts WikiLeaks founder Assange’s internet at embassy

Pictured:
  • FILE - In this May 19, 2017 file photo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange greets supporters from a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Ecuadorean officials announced Wednesday, March 28, 2018, that they are cutting off Assange's communications to the outside. Assange has been living in Ecuador's embassy for more than five years. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador’s government said Wednesday it has cut off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet connection at the nation’s London embassy after his recent activity on social media decrying the arrest of a Catalonian separatist leader.

In a statement, officials said Assange’s recent posts “put at risk” the good relations Ecuador maintains with nations throughout Europe and had decided as of Tuesday to suspend his internet access “in order to prevent any potential harm.”

Assange has since gone silent on social media.

Ecuador granted Assange asylum in the South American nation’s London embassy in 2012, where he has remained cooped up ever since. Ecuador has repeatedly tried to find a solution that would allow Assange to leave without the threat of arrest, but with no success. He remains subject to arrest in Britain for jumping bail and also fears a possible U.S. extradition request based on his leaking of classified State Department documents.

Relations between Assange and his host nation have often grown prickly. Ecuador suspended his internet access in 2016 after a WikiLeaks dump targeting Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Former President Rafael Correa hailed Assange’s work but the nation’s current head of state has called him a hacker and warned him not to meddle in politics.

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