Judge throws out Julian Assange lawsuit, he must clean up after cat

  • Assange challenged the Ecuadorean government requiring him to pay for medical bills, phone calls and clean up after his pet cat
  • Officials have complained that his soccer playing and skateboarding have damaged the building
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2018, 9:21am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2018, 9:45am

A judge ruled against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, rejecting his request to loosen new requirements that he says are meant to push him into leaving his asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

Judge Karina Martinez decided stricter rules recently imposed by the South American nation’s embassy – such as requiring Assange to pay for his internet and clean up after his cat – do not violate his asylum rights because authorities have the right to decide what is and isn’t allowed inside the building.

Ecuadorean officials praised the ruling in the latest row between the Australian hacker and the government that has provided him refuge for six years.

Relations between Assange and Ecuador have grown increasingly prickly as the years have dragged on with no solution in sight.

“There’s a limit as to how low a country can stoop,” Assange, now with a flowing white beard and hair, said via video feed from the embassy.

Assange’s lawyer vowed to appeal the decision.

“The Ecuadorean state has an international responsibility to protect Mr Assange,” lawyer Carlos Poveda said.

Assange argued that the new measures making it more difficult to receive visitors and requiring him to pay for services like laundry and medical bills are meant to coerce him into ending his asylum.

The rules also make clear that if Assange doesn’t properly feed and take care of his cat, the animal could be sent to the pound.

Ecuador’s government contended the requirements are aimed at peaceful cohabitation in tight quarters in the small embassy, where Assange takes up more than a third of the space.

Ecuador judge halts Assange hearing to find translator fluent in ‘Australian’

Officials have complained that his soccer playing and skateboarding have damaged the building.

“If Mr Assange wants to stay and he follows the rules … he can stay at the embassy as long as he wants,” said Attorney General Inigo Salvador, adding that Assange’s stay had cost the country US$6 million.

Ecuador granted Assange asylum in the embassy in 2012 as he tried to avoid extradition to Sweden. Sweden’s top prosecutor later dropped a long-running inquiry into a rape allegation against him, saying there was no way to detain or charge him because of his protected status in the embassy.

Nonetheless, Assange remains wanted in Britain for jumping bail, and he also fears a possible US extradition based on his leaking of classified State Department documents.

Assange initially enjoyed a cosy relationship with then Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa but relations with his host nation have steadily deteriorated.

Current President Lenin Moreno has warned him not to meddle in matters that can jeopardise Ecuador’s foreign relations.