Ecuador's authorities have urged Australian activist and founder of the WikiLeaks platform, Julian Assange, to refrain from interfering in Catalonia's crisis, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said in an interview published on Sunday.
"We have reminded Mr. Assange that he has no reason to interfere in Ecuadorian politics because his status does not allow it. Nor in that of nations that are our friends. He does not have the right to do so and he has committed himself to this," Moreno told El Pais.
Assange, who has been living in Ecuador's embassy in London for the past five years to avoid extradition, received sharp criticism from Madrid after he allegedly used Twitter to promote the idea of Catalonia's independence, calling the policies of the Spanish government "repression."
Referendum repression: Spanish police have now filed criminal complaints against the Mayor of Barcelona @AdaColau, the president of the parliament, the head of the Catalan police, the president of Catalonia @KRLS, and the VP @junqueras https://t.co/KeYd7Dh6NG— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) 11 октября 2017 г.
In September, Ecuador's foreign ministry and President Lenin Moreno had already warned Assange against making statements "that could affect Ecuador's international relations" with Spain and other countries.
"We gave him asylum but we have asked him in a cordial way to stop commenting on the politics of Ecuador and that of friendly countries because his status as an asylum seeker does not allow it. So he is surpassing that condition," Moreno told CNN.
The Spanish government in Madrid is trying every way it can to stop Catalonia's independence referendum Sunday https://t.co/VewpPSHxUY— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) 28 сентября 2017 г.
Assange responded by saying that "if President Moreno wants to gag my reporting of human rights abuses in Spain he should say so explicitly — together with the legal basis."