In this file photo taken on May 1, 2019, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures from the window of a prison van as he is driven out of Southwark Crown Court in London, after having been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching his bail conditions in 2012. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)
QUITO — Ecuador on Wednesday denied again having spied on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during his seven years' stay in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Britain.
"We have already addressed this in May, when the news (of spying) was first published," Ecuador's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The denial followed fresh allegations that the anti-secrecy activist was the target of spying at the embassy
The denial followed fresh allegations that the anti-secrecy activist was the target of spying at the embassy.
On Tuesday, Spanish daily El Pais reported that Spanish private security firm Undercover Global, which was hired by Ecuadoran government to safeguard its embassy, had Assange under 24-hour surveillance.
The firm has audio and video recordings of Assange meeting with his lawyers to discuss his legal problems and defense strategy, the daily said.
Ecuador's Foreign Ministry said it was under no obligation to respond to unsubstantiated claims, adding that it was Assange who violated the rules at the embassy.
"The ministry must remind (the public) that stealing or hacking data from the internet are actions that are prohibited by Ecuadorian law and international treaties," the government said.
Assange remained holed up after Ecuador granted him political asylum in 2012. In April, he was stripped of the asylum because of his online behavior and was then arrested by British officials.
The ministry also said it had sent letters to the security companies that protected the embassy, "to remind them of their confidentiality agreement" and the consequences of violating those terms.
Assange is now serving a 50-week sentence at a prison in Britain for having jumped bail when he entered the Ecuadorian embassy to apply for asylum.
He was wanted at the time for questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations, though he denied any wrongdoing.
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