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Assange Meets Australian Officials for First Time Since Taking Refuge

© REUTERS / Peter NichollsWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017 - Sputnik International
The Australian whistleblower, who is in London's Ecuadorian embassy evading US authorities after publishing classified information on Iraq , balked after Ecuador cut off his Internet and social media access and warned about terminating his asylum for breaking the rules.

The delegates from the Australian High Commission in London have reportedly paid a visit to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy. The whistleblower has been claiming asylum there for several years, fearing extradition to the US and persecution there for leaking Iraq War log, but this is believed to be the first time he has received officials from his homeland over last 6 years.

One of Assange’s lawyers, Jennifer Robinson, cited by the Australian site news.com.au, has confirmed that his meeting with Canberra’s government representatives took place. He declined to comment further, stating that her client “is in a very serious situation, detained without charge for seven-and-a-half years” as there’s a risk of extradition.

"That risk is undeniable after numerous statements by Trump administration officials, including the director of the CIA and the US attorney-general,” she told the media.

Assange took refuge at Ecuador’s Embassy in London in 2012 after he was accused of sexual offenses in Sweden during the presidency of Rafael Correa. But following Lenín Moreno taking the office in 2017, the leaker’s conditions have been stricken. In March, the embassy cut off Assange's internet access, stating the 46-year-old had violated an agreement that stated he would not interfere with Ecuador's relationship with other countries.

Moreno, who referred to Assange as “more than a nuisance” and an “inherited problem,” also ordered the shutting down of special security reports that the country had spent at least $5 million on a spy operation to support and protect Assange in its embassy in London. In January 2018, Ecuador also granted citizenship to the WikiLeaks co-founder, so he could get diplomatic immunity and leave the building. At the same time, Moreno denied there’s any pressure on Ecuador concerning Assange.

READ MORE: Ecuador ‘Has Got to Show Independence’, Keep Assange Out of US Hands

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