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Ecuador tells Julian Assange that cleaning the cat box is not "violating his fundamental rights"

Assange argued that the rules were part of a push to force him from the embassy.

by Tim Hume
Oct 30 2018, 1:36pm

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Julian Assange had a lawsuit thrown out Monday that claimed new rules imposed by the Ecuadorian embassy in London, including demands he clean up after his cat, violated his rights.

The Ecuadorian judge, Karla Martinez, found the embassy was “not violating his fundamental rights” by laying down new house rules — including making the Wikileaks founder pay for internet use and laundry facilities, as well as picking up cat mess.

Rather, embassy staff had a right to set down basic conditions for Assange, who took asylum in the country’s cramped consulate six years ago.

Assange’s lawsuit is the latest strain on a fraying relationship between the long-term house guest and his Ecuadorian hosts.

Assange took refuge in the embassy to avoid potential extradition to Sweden in a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.

The 47-year-old filed the lawsuit after Ecuador imposed new house rules on him, saying he had to follow them, or leave the embassy and face British authorities.

Those rules included paying for his own food and medical care, keeping the bathroom clean, and getting prior authorization for any visitors.

A cat wearing a striped tie and white collar looks out of the window of the Embassy of Ecuador as Swedish prosecutors question Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on November 14, 2016 in London, England. (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Assange argued that the rules were part of a push to force him from the embassy. During his 20-minute video-link presentation to the court in Quito Monday, he accused Ecuadorian authorities of being in talks with the U.S. and the U.K. over his status.

Ecuador says the rules are aimed at making their ongoing cohabitation work, in a modest building in which Assange takes up more than a third of the space. Hosting Assange has so far cost Ecuador $6 million, according to the country’s Attorney General Inigo Salvador.

While the Swedish case against him has been dropped, Assange fears extradition to the U.S. for his activities with WikiLeaks. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has previously described arresting Assange as a “priority” for his government.

READ: No one at the embassy will tell Assange the wifi password

In March, the embassy in London temporarily cut Assange’s Internet connection, saying his online activism was “interfering in other countries' affairs.”

Assange’s legal team have appealed the decision. “The Ecuadorian state has an international responsibility to protect Mr. Assange,” said his attorney, Carlos Poveda.

Cover image: Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador on May 19, 2017 in London, England. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Julian Assange
Ecuadorian embassy