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Ecuador 'temporarily restricts' Assange's net access for impacting US election

On Monday, WikiLeaks accused Ecuador of cutting off Assange's internet access at the behest of US Secretary of State John Kerry. Photograph: (Getty)

Quito, Ecuador Oct 19, 2016, 02.05 AM (IST)

Ecuador confirmed it has "temporarily restricted" internet access of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for leaking a trove of documents that could impact the US election.

Assange, who has been staying at the Ecuador Embassy since 2012 for publishing secret American documents, released transcripts of Hillary Clinton's three paid speeches to Goldman Sachs at a time when the US Election Day is just around the corner.

"The government of Ecuador respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states. It does not interfere in external electoral processes, nor does it favour any particular candidate," the Ecuadoran foreign ministry said in a statement.

On Monday, WikiLeaks had claimed that Ecuador had blocked Assange's internet access because of a request made by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

US denied the WikiLeaks report about them putting pressure on Ecuador to restrict Assange's internet access.

"Reports that Secretary Kerry had conversations with Ecuadorian officials about this are simply untrue. Period," State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

Ecuador denied the claims on Wednesday, saying: "Ecuador's foreign policy responds to sovereign decisions alone and does not yield to pressure from other states."

The South American nation also insisted that WikiLeaks still had the freedom to carry out its "journalistic activities".

WikiLeaks hacked Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's email account to publish documents that might have a bearing on voters' mind before they go to vote on November 8. 

In the latest batch of leaked documents, WikiLeaks published three private, paid speeches Clinton made to Wall Street investment giant Goldman Sachs after standing down as secretary of state and before launching her White House bid.

Clinton's campaign team has not contested the authenticity of the documents.

(WION with inputs from AFP)

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