Assange sues Ecuadorian government over ‘fundamental rights’ breaches

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (Reuters)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Assange sues Ecuadorian government over ‘fundamental rights’ breaches

  • Wikileaks founder Assange has filed a lawsuit in Ecuador seeking better access to communications
  • Assange has lived in the Andean nation’s London embassy for six years

QUITO: Julian Assange is sueing the Ecuadorian government over breaches of his “fundamental rights.” 

Wikileaks founder Assange has filed a lawsuit in Ecuador seeking better access to communications as part of his asylum in the Andean nation’s London embassy, where he has lived for six years, his lawyer told a news conference on Friday.

The whistleblowing website said its general counsel arrived in Ecuador on Thursday to launch a legal case against the government for “violating (Assange’s) fundamental rights and freedom.”
“The move comes almost seven months after Ecuador threatened to remove his protection and summarily cut off his access to the outside world, including by refusing to allow journalists and human rights organizations to see him,” WikiLeaks said.
It added that the embassy was requiring Assange’s visitors — including journalists and lawyers — to disclose “private or political details such as their social media usernames.”
The Ecuador government issued no immediate statement in response.
Assange’s legal action comes with speculation mounting that Ecuador was preparing to end its standoff with the British government by terminating his six-year asylum.
Quito confirmed blocking Assange’s Internet and mobile phone access in March after accusing him of breaking “a written committment” not to interfere in Ecuador’s foreign policies.
Assange found refuge in the embassy in 2012 after a British judge ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault, and he feared being transferred to the US.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in March 2017 that arresting Assange for leaking sensitive US government files through his websites was a “priority.”


Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

Updated 24 April 2019
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Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

  • An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996
  • The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time

TOKYO: Japan’s government apologized Wednesday to tens of thousands of victims forcibly sterilized under a now-defunct Eugenics Protection Law and promised to pay compensation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was offering “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology” to the victims.
His apology comes just after the parliament enactment earlier Wednesday of legislation to provide redress measures, including $28,600 (¥3.2 million) compensation for each victim.
An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996. The law was designed to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants” and allowed doctors to sterilize people with disabilities. It was quietly renamed as the Maternity Protection Law in 1996, when the discriminatory condition was removed.
The redress legislation acknowledges that many people were forced to have operations to remove their reproductive organs or radiation treatment to get sterilized, causing them tremendous pain mentally and physically.
The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time.
The apology and the redress law follow a series of lawsuits by victims who came forward recently after breaking decades of silence. That prompted lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties to draft a compensation package to make amends for the victims.
The plaintiffs are seeking about ¥30 million each ($268,000) in growing legal actions that are spreading around the country, saying the government’s implementation of the law violated the victims’ right to self-determination, reproductive health and equality. They say the government redress measures are too small for their suffering.
In addition to the forced sterilizations, more than 8,000 others were sterilized with consent, though likely under pressure, while nearly 60,000 women had abortions because of hereditary illnesses, according to Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
Among them were about 10,000 leprosy patients who had been confined in isolated institutions until 1996, when the leprosy prevention law was also abolished. The government has already offered compensation and an apology to them for its forced isolation policy.