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Julian Assange police costs 'embarrassing'


Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy

Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy

Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has accused Sweden of using a "shameful" legal practice of indefinite detention without charge as he continues to stay inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

The whistleblowing organisation hit out at the rising cost of having police officers outside the building in Knightsbridge around the clock, which is said to have passed £10 million.

WikiLeaks described the amount of money being spent on having Metropolitan police officers guard the embassy in case Mr Assange leaves as "embarrassing".

He has been granted asylum by the government of Ecuador, and has been staying in the embassy since June 2012.

He is seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over claims he assaulted two women in Stockholm - which he denies.

Mr Assange believes that if he is extradited to Sweden he will be forced to go to the United States and be quizzed over information published by WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks said that "damning footage" had been released of a brief interview it conducted with Sweden's director general of legal affairs, Anders Ronquist, in which he says that someone could be held indefinitely until they were charged.

In the interview, in Geneva, Mr Ronquist said it was possible to have a person suspected of crimes, to be detained until charges have been made.

Asked if there was a time limit on someone being held, he replied: "There no limit", adding there was no objective under human rights law to fix a maximum limit.

Mr Assange said: "Sweden has imported Guantanamo's most shameful legal practice - indefinite detention without charge."

On the cost of policing the embassy, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said: "It is embarrassing to see the UK Government spending more on surveillance and detaining an uncharged political refugee than on its investigation into the Iraq war, which killed hundreds of thousands."

The official estimate for police costs up to last October is £9 million, but that is now believed to have passed £10 million.

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