Assange marks his third year in London’s Ecuador embassy

Wikileaks founder marks three years since he entered Ecuador embassy in 2012 seeking political asylum

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Friday, June 19, marked three years since Wikileaks founder Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London seeking political asylum.

The 43-year-old cyber activist has been in the Ecuadorian embassy since June 19, 2012, which granted him political asylum after he was released on bail from a UK prison.

Assange fears extradition to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault allegations by two women, which he denies.

Swedish prosecutors insist that he travel to Sweden for questioning, which Assange says would be the first step of his extradition to the United States over Wikileaks revelations.

Assange lives in a small room at the embassy, which has no garden.

“He has not seen the sun in three years… His rights have been severely abused,” Wikileaks has said.

Wikileaks published in 2010 thousands of secret diplomatic documents, which drew sharp criticism from various countries, especially the US.

Wikileaks hit the headlines of media outlets in April 2010 after a video entitled Collateral Murder was published on its website. The video showed Iraqi citizens being indiscriminately targeted by American helicopters.

The Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said in March she would consent to question Assange inside the embassy as the allegations of sexual assault reach the statute of limitations in August.

However, Swedish investigators cancelled the appointment on Wednesday, as the official permission from Ecuador had not been granted yet.

Police have been posted outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, with an estimated cost of $16 million (10 million pound) so far.

Earlier on Friday, Wikileaks published more than 60,000 diplomatic cables from Saudi Arabia, saying a million more will be published in the coming weeks.

The US claims that Assange has breached US laws and began an investigation against him in February 2010, seeking to prosecute him under espionage and conspiracy.

Human rights groups and free media organisations have long urged the US government to end investigations over Assange’s revelations as the chief editor of Wikileaks.


TRTWorld and agencies