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Anorak | Julian Assange: free to leave London in 2020 if he’s not roasted to death first

Julian Assange: free to leave London in 2020 if he’s not roasted to death first

by | 13th, August 2015

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Supporters hold placards during a vigil outside the Ecuadorean embassy on March 16, 2015 in London, England. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lived there since claiming refuge in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over sex assault allegations. Supporters are to hold a vigil today to mark the 1,000 days since Assange originally claimed asylum at the embassy.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Supporters hold placards during a vigil outside the Ecuadorean embassy on March 16, 2015 in London, England. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lived there since claiming refuge in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over sex assault allegations. Supporters are to hold a vigil today to mark the 1,000 days since Assange originally claimed asylum at the embassy. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

 

Julian Assange still lives in London. The Wikipedia founder sought in connection with an alleged rape is living in swanky Knightsbridge, in the Ecuardorean Embassy.

The Times is no fan of Assange. It says his time in the one of the best parts of London is coming to an end. .

The Ecuadorean embassy in swish Hans Crescent, long-suffering host to the whistleblower for more than three years, is no penal colony. It has, however, been turned upside down by its grandstanding squatter.

Is he squatting? He’s surely an invited guest. London is no longer as interesting as it once was, a place where squatters could occupy the good parts. London’s smartest districts are now gilded in foreign cash, peopled by brash Russian oligarchs and their lickspittles. Squatter! If only.

Now the Ecuadoreans are wondering whether the latest shift in Mr Assange’s legal status — original sex abuse allegations, denied by him, are no longer chargeable after August 19 — will soon have him packing his bags. Or, as some fear, he could be digging in for the long, long haul.

The BBC adds:

Under Swedish law, charges cannot be laid without interviewing the suspect. Prosecutors had until 13 August to question Mr Assange about one accusation of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion, while the time limit on a further allegation of sexual molestation runs out on 18 August. The more serious allegation of rape is not due to expire until 2020.

An unnamed “diplomat” tells the paper:

“Day has been turned into night, night into day. It is virtually impossible to conduct a normal diplomatic relationship when you are also functioning as a one-man boutique hotel.”

What facilities are their at the hotel?

Mr Assange inhabits a back office in the ten-room Victorian apartment. There is a treadmill, donated by the film director Ken Loach, a sun lamp — the embassy has no garden and he cannot even enter the lobby of the block without risk of arrest — a computer, a kitchenette.

Ken Loach donated a treadmill. If only Brian Glover had lived to it.

His celebrity visitors — was it Yoko Ono? Dame Vivienne Westwood? The actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, perhaps, or Eric Cantona? — lobbied the ambassador. Julian needed his sleep. So a women’s toilet was converted into a bedroom, and the embassy shrank yet further.

We learn that the embassy now uses keycards, because the doors cannot be left unlocked at night.

Mr Assange holds dinner parties sometimes but the guests bring the food and drink.

Assange never leaves – not even when someone shouts ‘FIRE!”:

There was even speculation in Ecuador that the British authorities might be trying to smoke out Mr Assange when the fire alarm sounded recently, sending all of the inhabitants of the building to the street in accordance with the evacuation plan. Only Mr Assange and one of the guards stayed behind, prepared to risk a roasting rather than arrest.

Assange of Arc never did materialise. The divine would-be martyr lived.

The President of Ecuador rarely calls nowadays, however, and has other things on his mind. Today President Correa faces a day of national protests and the prospect of a general strike. He is, say his critics in Quito, having to fight for his political survival. That does not augur well for the “guest” whose checkout time is fast approaching.

Balls. He’s there for the long haul.



Posted: 13th, August 2015 | In: News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink