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Four years in confinement: How has Assange done it?

Luke Skywalker

Super Moderator
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Julian Assange has avoided talking to Swedish officials while in asylum at an Ecuadorian embassy in London, but that could change soon.
Video provided by Newsy Newslook

Julian Assange (screen), who has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, participates in a discussion by video conference, organized on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the College of Journalists of Chile, an event attended by prominent journalists, activists, social leaders and scholars from Latin America and the world in Santiago de Chile, Chile, July 12, 2016.(Photo: MARIO RUIZ, EPA)

LONDON —<span style="color: Red;">*</span>WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has spent more than four years living in Ecuador’s embassy in the British capital,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>fearful of being extradited to Sweden and ultimately to the United States.
How has he managed to continue living in confinement for so long?
According to media reports, Assange lives in a former office that has been fitted with a bed, small kitchen, phone, sun lamp, computer, shower and treadmill. In May, WikiLeaks revealed he received a 10-week-old kitten as a present from his children. The pet<span style="color: Red;">*</span>has its own Twitter account<span style="color: Red;">*</span>—<span style="color: Red;">*</span>@EmbassyCat<span style="color: Red;">*</span>—<span style="color: Red;">*</span>where regular updates<span style="color: Red;">*</span>are posted.
The 45-year-old Australian entered the embassy, a stone’s throw from the famed department store Harrods in the illustrious Knightsbridge neighborhood, in June 2012, and was granted diplomatic asylum that August.
He is wanted for questioning in a suspected rape case in Sweden, and fears that if he is extradited there he will then be sent to the U.S.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>for prosecution over WikiLeaks’<span style="color: Red;">*</span>publication of secret documents, including thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables. Assange, who denies committing any sex offenses, faces arrest and extradition to Sweden if he leaves the building.
He has occasionally appeared on the embassy balcony, including<span style="color: Red;">*</span>in February after a<span style="color: Red;">*</span>United Nations<span style="color: Red;">*</span>panel decided he had been arbitrarily detained by British and Swedish authorities.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>The British and Swedish governments said<span style="color: Red;">*</span>the ruling<span style="color: Red;">*</span>is not legally<span style="color: Red;">*</span>binding.
Assange<span style="color: Red;">*</span>has also appeared at events around the world via Skype, including at the rapper M.I.A.’s New York show in Nov. 2013, and in June he held a live broadcast where he discussed the historic referendum for Britain to leave the European Union.
In an interview via Skype<span style="color: Red;">*</span>in 2013, Assange said the staff at the embassy were “like family," The Telegraph reported.
Ecuador: Assange to be questioned in London embassy

“We have lunch together, celebrate people’s birthdays and other details I don’t want to go into because of the security situation,” he said.
Assange has received a number of celebrity<span style="color: Red;">*</span>visitors over the years, among them Yoko Ono,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Sean Lennon,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Vivienne Westwood and Lady Gaga.
Last year, BuzzFeed<span style="color: Red;">*</span>reported<span style="color: Red;">*</span>that staff at the<span style="color: Red;">*</span>embassy were filing daily reports on Assange’s actions.
According to the secret internal documents, Assange —<span style="color: Red;">*</span>described as “Mr. Guest” —<span style="color: Red;">*</span>entered the embassy’s out-of-bounds control room in Sept. 2012 and tampered with the security equipment, resulting in a scuffle with a security guard that damaged equipment, BuzzFeed reported.
Soon after 6 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2013, a security guard heard a loud crash in his<span style="color: Red;">*</span>room and Assange came to the door and told him everything was fine. Assange went to another room —<span style="color: Red;">*</span>his bathroom —<span style="color: Red;">*</span>with his laptop and stayed there for hours, during which time the guard entered Assange’s bedroom and saw and photographed a broken bookshelf on the floor, the secret documents said, according to Buzzfeed.
Assange later said the bookshelf fell by itself, it added.
“This episode is nothing more than the result of the stress that Mr. Assange could be feeling as a result of his isolation,” the report said, BuzzFeed reported.
“If it’s clear that his situation could result in psychological harm because of the circumstances in which he finds himself, it’s equally clear that there is no protocol that might help avoid or minimize this.”
Speculation on the state of Assange’s health has continued.
U.N. panel: WikiLeaks' Assange 'arbitrarily detained'

In 2014, WikiLeaks “sources” said he had a heart defect, chronic cough and high blood pressure and was unable to seek hospital treatment, the Telegraph reported. The unnamed sources also said Assange was suffering from a lack of Vitamin D due to his confinement indoors.
This week, Ecuador said<span style="color: Red;">*</span>a date for Swedish prosecutors to question Assange<span style="color: Red;">*</span>at the embassy will be set “in the coming weeks” in a<span style="color: Red;">*</span>breakthrough development that could herald the end of his embassy<span style="color: Red;">*</span>ordeal.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>The South American<span style="color: Red;">*</span>nation first<span style="color: Red;">*</span>said it agreed to the<span style="color: Red;">*</span>proposal by Sweden to interview Assange at the embassy last year, but nothing has happened<span style="color: Red;">*</span>until now.
Swedish Prosecution Authority spokeswoman Karin Rosander said that Ecuador’s decision to allow the questioning could make “the case go forward.”
“This is decisive to be able to take a decision whether to formally charge him or not,” she told the Associated Press.

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