Tuesday, October 25, 2016

WikiLeaks Says U.S.’s John Kerry Asked Ecuador Stop Assange from Leaking Docs

LONDON – WikiLeaks said on Tuesday that the United States secretary of state asked Ecuador to stop its founder Julian Assange from publishing classified documents relating to Hillary Clinton.

Assange has lived inside Ecuador’s Embassy in London since seeking asylum there in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations.

According to a tweet on WikiLeaks’ official Twitter account, John Kerry spoke to Ecuador officials in a bid to halt the disclosure of documents belonging to the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the U.S. in 2016 during negotiations with Colombia’s rebel FARC organization.

“Multiple U.S. sources tell us John Kerry asked Ecuador to stop Assange from publishing Clinton docs during FARC peace negotiations,” the tweet said.

The tweet came a day after WikiLeaks denounced that the embassy had “cut off Assange’s internet Saturday, 5 pm GMT, shortly after publication of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches.”

Assange is unable to leave the Ecuadorian mission because Sweden seeks his extradition to question him over alleged sexual assault offenses against two women, which he denies.

The Australian ex-hacker has said he fears he could be arrested if he sets foot outside the embassy and extradited to Sweden.

London’s Metropolitan Police has said it would arrest Assange if he ventures out onto the streets.

Assange has said that if he is extradited to Sweden he could be handed over to the U.S. for questioning over the unauthorized publication of hundreds of thousands of its classified documents by WikiLeaks.

In another tweet, WikiLeaks said Kerry had a private meeting with Ecuadorean officials on the sidelines of the peace talks that took place in Colombia.

Given that Assange has been isolated in the embassy building for four years, internet was one of the few ways the activist could maintain contact with the outside world.

The U.S. State Department has denied that Kerry requested Ecuador to cut Assange’s internet access.

State Department spokesman John Kirby told EFE there was no truth in WikiLeaks’ claim that Kerry had spoken to Ecuador officials about this matter.

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