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Julian Assange: Ecuadorian Embassy is like living on a space station

By Rob Hastings

Julian Assange has compared his self-imposed imprisonment inside the Ecuadorean Embassy to being an astronaut orbiting the Earth due to the limits placed on his everyday life.

Speaking from inside the west London building he has not left since mid-June in an attempt to escape extradition to Sweden through diplomatic immunity, Mr Assange displayed no signs of the supposed ill-health that led Ecuador to say it was “gravely concerned” for his wellbeing on Wednesday.

The Wikileaks founder said that the frustration of his predicament, however, meant it was “a little bit like living in a space station because there is no natural light and you’ve got to make all your own stuff, you can’t go out to the shops”.

But he added: “I’ve been in solitary confinement, I know what life is like for prisoners – it’s a lot better than it is for prisoners.”

Worried that extradition to Sweden will lead to him being shipped on to the US to stand trial on counts of treason, Mr Assange said his stand-off with the authorities could only be ended by the US dropping its investigation into Wikileaks, calling it “immoral” and saying it breaches all the principles of the country’s “founding fathers”.

He was being interviewed by the American news channel CNN following Wikileaks’ release of more than 100 US Defence Department files disclosing the American military’s detention policies in Guantanamo Bay and Iraq, dating from the 9/11 attacks until 2004.

The organisation said the documents showed that “policies of unaccountability” had allowed for prisoners to be abused with impunity.

Mr Assange said that the destruction of video-taped interviews or ensuring they are not filmed in the first place, as revealed in the files, was an example of the US creating a situation “where abuse can occur and it can’t be discovered”.

Mr Assange said he hoped the issue would become a “political football” as Barack Obama’s administration had become “corrupted even worse” than the Government of George W Bush.

The US is yet to comment on the leaks.

Mr Assange also took aim at the world media, saying that the fact Wikileaks had beaten news organisations around the world to making the files public was “simply not acceptable”.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph