15:20 GMT16 July 2020
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    The WikiLeaks founder received sharp criticism from the Ecuadorian and Spanish authorities after he allegedly used Twitter to promote the idea of the region's independence from Spain.

    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."

    Earlier, Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis argued that Assange was "trying to interfere" in the situation surrounding Catalonia and "manipulate" it. The statement came following a meeting between the WikiLeaks founder and a prominent Catalan pro-independence figure last month.

    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.

    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."


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