Wikileaks founder Assange launches legal action against Ecuador

Assange seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017

Assange seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017

The co-founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has been living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012 out of fear that he would be arrested by United Kingdom authorities for a violation of bail terms and deported to the US.

WikiLeaks said its general counsel arrived in Ecuador on Thursday to launch a legal case against the government for "violating (Assange's) fundamental rights and freedom". It is due to be heard in a domestic court next week.

In a statement, WikiLeaks States that the Embassy of Ecuador "threatened to deprive his defense and cut him off from the outside world".

Assange sought refuge at the Ecuador Embassy in Knightsbridge in June 2012, having lost an appeal against extradition to Sweden for questioning on allegations of rape and sexual assault that went to the Supreme Court.

Ecuador feared Mr Assange could make more controversial statements that would have strained the country's relationship with the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Under the protocol, Assange is to have his access to the internet restored via the embassy wifi.

Quito "has full legal support for its position, because the protocol was adopted in accordance with global rules and Ecuadoran law", the minister said.

This new protocol will also be challenged by the WikiLeaks lawyer and branded as a way of "censoring" freedom of opinion, speech and association.

Other requirements Assange needs to meet to avoid expulsion include since this week, a set of house rules including better looking after his cat and cleaning his bathroom.

Former Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa provided Julian Assange asylum in 2012.

Assange's legal action comes with speculation mounting that Ecuador was preparing to end its standoff with the British government by terminating his six-year asylum.

Sweden later dropped its investigation of Assange, but Britain says he will be arrested for violating the terms of his bail if he leaves the embassy.

Ecuador will respond to the lawsuit adequately, observing the rule of law, Valencia said in a statement posted on the foreign ministry's website.

WikiLeaks caused an worldwide storm in 2010 when it published a series of leaks from U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning.

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