The South American country is only responsible for Assange’s wellbeing, the minister told Reuters, not his legal affairs, despite allegations of rights violations as outlined in the recent lawsuit against Ecuador filed by Assange’s attorneys.
“Ecuador has no responsibility to take any further steps. We are not Mr. Assange’s lawyers, nor are we representatives of the British government. This is a matter to be resolved between Assange and Great Britain,” said Valencia.
Assange filed a lawsuit Friday to contest the rigorous limitations implemented through the new protocol such as communication, medical checks, statements to the press, and visitations to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Breaching the new regulations would cost Assange his asylum.
"This new regime goes against their more basic human dignity as an asylum," said Assange’s attorney, Carlos Poveda.
However, Valencia dismissed the claims, saying he was “frustrated” by Assange’s decision to file suit in an Ecuadorean court last week over new terms of his asylum, which required him to pay for medical bills and telephone calls and to clean up after his pet cat.
“There is no obligation in international agreements for Ecuador to pay for things like Mr. Assange’s laundry,” he said.
Neither the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office nor lawyers for Assange immediately responded to emails seeking comment after normal business hours.
This position marks a departure from the country’s previous practice of maintaining dialogue with British authorities over Assange’s situation since granting him asylum in 2012, when he took refuge in Ecuador’s London Embassy after British courts ordered his extradition to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual molestation case which were later dropped.