On Tuesday, the Ecuadorian government admitted that it had in fact restricted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s Internet access. Ecuador said that it made the decision on its own after WikiLeaks published numerous documents related to the American presidential election. WikiLeaks has been active in leaking emails from the Democratic National Committee and the email account of John Podesta, who currently serves as chairman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“In that respect, Ecuador, exercising its sovereign right, has temporarily restricted access to part of its communications systems in its UK Embassy,” Ecuador said in a statement.
“Ecuador does not cede to pressures from other countries.”
WikiLeaks said they “have activated the appropriate contingency plans.” The group published the eleventh part in a series on Podesta’s email, so their ability to publish continues.
WikiLeaks specifically accused Secretary of State John Kerry of pressuring the Ecuadorian embassy to cut Assange’s internet access so that Assange would unable to continue leaking confidential Democratic Party files. WikiLeaks believes that Secretary Kerry made the request on September 26 during the Colombian peace talks. The State Department denies the accusations.
“While our concerns about WikiLeaks are longstanding, any suggestion that Secretary Kerry or the State Department were involved in shutting down WikiLeaks is false,” said the State Department’s chief spokesman, John Kirby. “Reports that Secretary Kerry had conversations with Ecuadorian officials about this are simply untrue. Period.”
Assange is wanted by the Swedish government, which wants to question him about rape and sexual abuse allegations. Assange has been living in Ecuador’s embassy in the United Kingdom under political asylum in order to avoid extradition.