Assange embassy home 'basic'

2012-08-20 15:35
File

File

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Wikileaks
    WikiLeaks is the most challenging journalistic phenomenon to have emerged in the digital era. It... Now R229.00
    buy now
London - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is keeping busy inside Ecuador's London embassy by working on his computer, exercising on a treadmill and cooking food in his microwave, according to friends.

Vaughan Smith, a former army officer who hosted 41-year-old Assange at his English mansion for more than a year while the Australian was under house arrest, said conditions in the embassy were basic, but comfortable enough.

"It's not worse than a prison cell, for sure," Smith said. "The primary reason that it's not worse is that he can use a computer and the internet. He can work, and that is his prime concern."

Assange has not left the embassy in a chic district of London since 19 June, when he claimed political asylum in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sex crimes.

He claims he could be passed from Sweden to the United States - which WikiLeaks enraged in 2010 by publishing a vast cache of diplomatic cables as well as secret files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - and prosecuted.

Ecuador granted asylum to the former computer hacker last Thursday, but with Britain refusing to grant him safe passage out of the country, he remains shut inside as the diplomatic standoff rumbles on.

'Tidy for an ex-hacker'

Smith, who visited Assange last week, said he had a small running machine to exercise on, a shower, and a microwave to heat his food at the embassy, which occupies a flat in a redbrick Victorian building.

"His kitchen facilities are certainly rudimentary," said Smith, laughing as he added that Assange was probably not getting his food from the luxury Harrods department store, which is just around the corner.

"I think he's paying for his own food, and he doesn't have that sort of money," he said.

He added that Assange has divided his small room into an office and a living area, and was keeping it "rather cleaner and tidier than I recall him being, actually".

"It's certainly clean and tidy for an ex-hacker," he laughed.

"He can have visitors and he can carry on his activities. He has quite a lot to resolve - he's fighting court battles against Visa and MasterCard, there's this whole Swedish matter, and there's trying to run WikiLeaks."

Sunlight

Credit companies have refused to handle donations to the website.

Smith said he remained on good terms with Assange despite standing to lose the £20 000 he put up for the WikiLeaks founder's bail in 2010 after he was arrested over the sex crime allegations.

"It's not clear that I have lost my money yet," Smith said. "This kind of matter is considered by a magistrate, and it is surely a factor that he has claimed and received political asylum. It may well have an important bearing."

WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson, who has visited his colleague regularly over the last two months, said Assange's room gets some sunlight through the window.

Media have also reported that Assange - who looked in good health as he appeared on the embassy balcony on Sunday to address hundreds of supporters -- has been sitting under an artificial "sun lamp" while cooped up inside.

"He is not unaccustomed to living under rough circumstances," Hrafnsson said by telephone from Iceland.

Assange hopped from city to city after WikiLeaks was founded in 2006, often sleeping on friends' sofas.

"He can of course walk around in the embassy's territory," said Hrafnsson. "He is in good spirits."

Read more on:    wikileaks  |  julian assange  |  ecuador  |  uk  |  us  |  sweden  |  espionage
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Welgemoed - 11:58 AM
    Road name: Jip De Jager Drive
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Kommissaris Street
  • Monday Milnerton - 11:51 AM
    Road name: Koeberg Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bosmansdam Road - expect delays
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 gives you the powerful combination of...

From R2740.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong emphasis on relationships. Obsession, emotional disputes, retaliation or competitive actions are highlighted....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.