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Ecuador throws out Assange lawsuit

Magistrate Karen Martinez ruled that the suit could not move forward, as filed by WikiLeaks' attorney, the former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon.

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

LONDON – Ecuador on Monday threw out the lawsuit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange filed charging that Quito violated his "fundamental rights" and limited his access to the outside world while in asylum at its London embassy.

Magistrate Karen Martinez ruled that the suit could not move forward, as filed by WikiLeaks' attorney, the former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon.

The 47-year-old Australian's legal action had come with speculation mounting that Ecuador is preparing to end its standoff with the British government by terminating his high-profile stay.

Carlos Poveda, Assange's lawyer in Ecuador, appealed the ruling. That means a higher court should review the case in coming days.

Assange found refuge in the embassy in London in 2012 after a British judge ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault.

That case has since been dropped. But Assange fears being extradited to the United States to face charges over the WikiLeaks website's release of troves of sensitive US government files.

Quito confirmed blocking Assange's internet and mobile phone access in March after accusing him of breaking "a written commitment" not to interfere in Ecuador's foreign policies.

A protocol governing Assange's stay at the embassy - revealed by Ecuadoran internet site Codigo Vidrio and never denied by Quito - warns that further breaches will lead to "termination of asylum."

Garzon told reporters in Quito that Assange was living in "an inhuman situation, because the solution that should already have been reached by the involved states is being dragged out longer and longer."

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in March 2017 that arresting Assange for leaking sensitive US government files was a "priority."

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