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    A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds a placard outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on April 5, 2019

    LEAKED: Assange Told Ecuador Court He Was an 'Assassination Risk'

    © AFP 2019 / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
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    2019

    Last March, the Ecuadorean government suspended Assange's communications after he publicly questioned Britain's claims that Russian assassins poisoned former agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. He regained internet access only in October 2018.

    WikiLeaks has released a transcript of Julian Assange's speech at a behind-closed-doors hearing in an Ecuadorian court, where he complained that new restrictions imposed on him were violating his constitutional rights.

    Assange testified in court about his situation via Skype on 29 October. He admitted that he did not feel safe in Ecuador's embassy in London, where he has been locked in since 2012.

    "There have been attempts by people to get into this embassy through the windows at night. It appears that there may have even been an attempt last night, at 4.30 a.m. I am an assassination risk. It is not a joke. It is a serious business," reads the leaked transcript.

    At the hearing, Assange asked the judge for an urgent injunction against his "continued gagging" and isolation — a request that was eventually dismissed.

    "The government has played a game where it has tried to present these very grave restrictions on human dignity as if it's about the internet. It's not. It's restricting all my telephone calls," he stated, adding that there were three jammers installed in the building.

    READ MORE: Assange Reportedly Requests Compensation for Legal Costs From Sweden

    According to the transcript, the embattled whistleblower claimed that by taking such steps, Ecuador's authorities were setting the groundwork for reversing his asylum status and handing him over to the United States.

    He suggested that this change of mind happened because Ecuador had decided to bow to US pressure.

    "Due to various weaknesses in the Ecuadorian government, namely the split — which I do not want to have any part of — within the government's party, it has become weak and it has therefore started to lean on the United States and the UK for various kinds of support, and this has caused an undue amount of influence by the United States."

    "It really comes from — well, we can trace it back — in March 2017 WikiLeaks published a very important publication, the largest ever in the history of the CIA," he said, referring to the archive of CIA-related documents which mainly focused on the agency's hacking techniques and spying capabilities.

    "The fact that a government controls a particular piece of space does not mean it can violate its constitution, can violate mandated rights, that it can engage in punishment without process, it cannot strip from the courts their obligation to decide these matters or the rights of Parliament to decide these matters," he allegedly told the court.

    The transcript was released days after WikiLeaks announced that Assange could be expelled from the embassy within "hours to days".

    Following the announcement, a UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy voiced plans to visit Assange on 25 April to determine if his rights are indeed being violated.

    Earlier this week, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno accused Assange of violating the conditions of his stay in the embassy. Specifically, the president argued that Assange could not meddle in the politics of other states, especially Ecuador's partners.

    Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London in June 2012. He was granted diplomatic asylum at a time he was wanted by Swedish prosecutors for questioning over allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he dismissed as politically motivated.

    These accusations surfaced shortly after his pet project, WikiLeaks, dumped massive amounts of classified and sensitive documents about the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These information dumps have provoked a Washington investigation into WikiLeaks and Assange personally, with the US seeking to prosecute the journalist under the Espionage Act.

    Related:

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    transcript, hearing, leak, court, WikiLeaks, Lenin Moreno, Julian Assange, United States, United Kingdom, Ecuador
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