Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa leader rebukes Wikileaks’ Julian Assange for mocking Australian politicians
Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa on Friday chastized WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for making fun of Australian politicians in a video shot at his place of refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy.
“We have sent him a letter: he can campaign politically, but without making fun of Australian politicians. We are not going to allow that,” Correa said here on the sidelines of a South American summit.
Correa was referring to a video featuring Assange in a comedy wig singing and sending up Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, his predecessor Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott in the run-up to Australia’s September 7 elections.
The video has been watched 465,942 times since it was downloaded on Monday.
Despite being holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy, Assange is running for a senate seat in his native Australia.
“The rules of asylum in principle forbid meddling in the politics of the country that grants asylum,” Correa said.
“But as a matter of courtesy we are not going to bar Julian Assange from exercising his right to be a candidate. Just so long as he doesn’t make fun of Australian politicians or people.”
The WikiLeaks founder took refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about sexual assault allegations.
Assange fears Sweden would extradite him to the United States to face charges related to WikiLeak’s disclosure of a huge trove of classified US military and diplomatic documents.
Bradley Manning, the US Army private who leaked the documents to Assange’s organization, was sentenced to 35 years in prison by a US military court on August 21.