Assange anniversary: One year in the Ecuadorean Embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of Ecuador's Embassy, in central London. Credit: Reuters
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of Ecuador’s Embassy, in central London.
Credit: Reuters

Inside the gold-framed double doors, the Ecuadorean Embassy of London is a modest apartment with white-painted walls and simple furniture. Not the most fitting residence for a world famous hero, or villain.

But since June 19, 2012, WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange has gone from pioneer to captive, forced into hiding to avoid extradition to Sweden where charges on sexual assault await him. The Australian will be arrested if he steps outside the building, so the jet-set lifestyle has been replaced by a single room and his laptop.

DVD box sets of “The Twilight Zone” and “The West Wing” keep him company, and an ultraviolet lamp replaces daylight. Assange lives nocturnally according to reports, working until dawn supported by heavy doses of caffeine.

The 41-year-old has not been forgotten, from the crowds outside his window shouting “freedom fighter”, to his generous hosts that have granted him asylum and allowed him to cramp their workplace. Further, celebrity guests from Lady Gaga to Oliver Stone have visited, with British filmmaker Ken Loach donating a treadmill on which the captive runs miles each day.

“He’s very robust and seems in good health,” friend, visitor and restaurateur Vaughan Smith told Metro, adding that Assange “gets along well with the staff”. However, an embassy source confirmed that the experience has been “difficult”.

Yet confinement has been put to good use according to acting WikiLeaks chief Kristin Hrafnsson. “The time he saves not traveling is devoted to work and he gets a lot done,” Hrafnsson said. “We have had to move the staff around to cover this but the material is still coming out and our work has not been badly affected.”

This previously-quiet corner of London has been impacted, however, with a 24-hour police presence that has cost over £3 million to date. “Most of us are bemused and don’t know why he is being protected, and why we are spending so much,” local resident Karen Morgan-Thomas told Metro, adding that constant protests have been an irritation.

Yet despite the situation attracting ridicule, it could last “another five years” according to Ecuador’s foreign minister Ricardo Patiño, with no diplomatic solution in sight. Plenty more miles on the treadmill await the lord of leaks.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox walk off with…

Red Sox pick up first walk off win of 2014

MLB

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at…

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at 11 a.m.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings…

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings in Game 2

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.