News World Julian Assange told to curb speech, tend to cat
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Julian Assange told to curb speech, tend to cat

Julian Assange's cat dressed in a tie inside the Ecuadorean embassy. Photo: Getty
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Ecuador has formally ordered Julian Assange to steer clear of topics that could harm its diplomatic interests if he wants to be reconnected to the internet, according to a memo published in a local media outlet. 

The nine-page memo published on Monday by Ecuadorian website Codigo Vidrio said Mr Assange is prohibited from “interfering in the internal affairs of other states” or from activities “that could prejudice Ecuador’s good relations with other states”.

Instead, the memo – which is in Spanish – tells Mr Assange to concentrate on the “wellbeing, food, hygiene and proper care” of his pet cat.

It warned that the cat might be given away or handed to an animal refuge if the WikiLeaks founder did not comply.

There was no indication Mr Assange signed on to the memo, which governs his access to the Wi-Fi network of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has lived since seeking asylum there in 2012.

The Associated Press could not immediately authenticate the document. But Codigo Vidrio has a track record of publishing inside material from the London embassy.

The restrictions outlined in the memo echo the conditions Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno recently described in an interview with AP.

Mr Assange has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy since. Photo: Getty

Messages left with Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry and WikiLeaks representatives were not immediately returned.

Tension has been long building between Mr Assange and his hosts, particularly after the Australian ex-hacker began cheering on Catalonian secessionists in Spain last year.

In March, Ecuador announced it was restricting Mr Assange’s access to the internet. On Sunday, WikiLeaks said Mr Assange would be reconnected to the internet, but it’s not clear whether the move was contingent on him agreeing to Ecuador’s conditions.

According to The Guardian, the memo also implored Mr Assange and his guests to keep the bathroom clean and stated the diplomatic mission would not pay for any food laundry or any other costs associated with his residency after December 1. Mr Assange must also have – and pay for – regular medical check-ups, it stated.

Any failure to comply with the new house rules “could lead to the termination of the diplomatic asylum granted by the Ecuadorian state,” it added.

Assange took refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced sex crimes allegations.

-with AAP