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Assange's communications to be partly restored by Ecuador govt

The Wikileaks founder, who has been holed up at the embassy since 2012, was stopped from using the internet or a mobile phone to communicate with the outside world in March.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange addresses the press and his supporters from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2016. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - The Ecuadorian government will partially restore communications for Julian Assange at the country's embassy in London, Wikileaks said.

The Wikileaks founder, who has been holed up at the embassy since 2012, was stopped from using the internet or a mobile phone to communicate with the outside world in March.

"Ecuador has told WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it will remove the isolation regime imposed on him following meetings between two senior UN officials and Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno on Friday," Wikileaks said in a statement on Sunday.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, Wikileaks editor in chief, described the move as "positive" but said it is "of grave concern that his freedom to express his opinions is still limited".

The decision to cut off Assange's communications was taken because the Australian had broken a 2017 promise to not interfere in other countries' affairs while in the mission, the Ecuadorian government said at the time.

It came days after he used Twitter to challenge Britain's accusation that Russia was responsible for the nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent in the English city of Salisbury.

He also attacked the arrest in Germany of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont under an EU warrant issued by Spain over Puigdemont's failed bid last year to declare independence for his Spanish region.

Ecuador installed a jammer to prevent him from accessing email and restricted the number of visitors he can receive.

Assange took refuge in the diplomatic mission in 2012 after a British judge ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault there.

Assange claims the accusations were politically motivated and could lead to him being extradited to the United States to face imprisonment over WikiLeaks' publication of secret US military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.

Sweden dropped its investigation last year, but British authorities say they still want to arrest him for breaching his bail conditions.

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