Speaking during a question and answer session in the UK House of Commons, the Foreign Office Minister for Europe and the Americas Alan Duncan blasted Julian Assange for tweets in which the former criticized the timing of "Russian diplomatic expulsions."
(1/3) The manner of and timing of Russian diplomatic expulsions is poor diplomacy. The expulsions occurred 12 hours after one of the worst building fires in post Soviet history, which killed at least 64. Russians will see the timing as gratuitous.— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) 26 марта 2018 г.
When asked to take action against Assange, who has remained in the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain since June 2012, Duncan said it’s about time that he gives himself up to British authorities, according to media reports.
"It is of great regret that Julian Assange remains in the Ecuador embassy. It is of even deeper regret that even last night he was tweeting against Her Majesty's government for their conduct in replying to the attack in Salisbury. It's about time that this miserable little worm walked out of the embassy and gave himself up to British justice," he said.
In response, Assange tweeted that he indeed must be miserable due to being "a political prisoner, detained without charge for 8 years", and that it is better to be a worm, "a healthy creature that invigorates the soil," than a snake.
As a political prisoner detained without charge for 8 years, in violation of 2 UN rulings, I suppose I must be "miserable"; yet nothing wrong with being a "little" person although I'm rather tall; and better a "worm", a healthy creature that invigorates the soil, than a snake.— Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange) 27 марта 2018 г.
Shortly afterwards, however, the WikiLeaks founder had his outside communications switched off by the government of Ecuador, which stated that it was done “due to Assange not complying with a written promise which he made with the government in late 2017, by which he was obliged not to send messages which entailed interference in relations with other states.”
Assange has been residing at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 for fear of being extradited to Sweden to face sexual abuse allegations. On December 4, 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's (WGAD) ruled that Assange's detention was arbitrary. The United Kingdom and Sweden refused to recognize the legitimacy of the decision and to end Assange's prosecution.