Wikileaks’ Julian Assange Suffering from Chronic Lung Condition

Wikileak's founder Julian Assange, who has been living in the U.K. Ecuadorian embassy for over 5 months, is believed to be suffering from a chronic lung condition

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Rosie Hallam/Rosie Hallam

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Makes A Statement At The Ecuadorian Embassy, August 2012

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than 5 months, is believed to be suffering from “a chronic lung condition.” Ecuador’s ambassador to Britain, Ana Alban, told an Ecuadorian TV network on a recent trip to Quito that Assange’s condition “could lead to complications.” She explained that the cold, dark London winter and the fact Assange has not been outside in five months has been detrimental to his health, reports the Guardian.

(MORE: Why is Ecuador Julian Assange’s Choice for Asylum?)

Assange took refuge in the embassy in June in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden under the terms of a European Arrest warrant, notes Reuters. The founder of Wikileaks, an Internet clearinghouse for classified and sensitive information, he became famous for leaking thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables through the site. He is charged in Sweden with two counts of sexual molestation, one count of unlawful coercion and one count of rape. Assange has denied the allegations, calling Sweden “the Saudi Arabia of feminism,” as quoted by the New York Times. He fears if he is sent to Sweden he will be subject to subsequent extradition to the United States, where he could face imprisonment for his role in disseminating classified documents.

Since June, Assange has been staying in a small room in the Ecuadorian embassy, living off take-away meals and relying on a treadmill for exercise. He uses a sunlamp to help compensate for nearly half a year without fresh air. Located in the posh London district of Knightsbridge, Ecuador’s diplomatic base is modest in comparison to other embassies and has no garden. “Imagine how well someone is in a space of 50 square meters [about 540 square feet], without much sun and poor air circulation,” Alban said. “It’s absolutely logical to think that a human being in these circumstances is not going to be living well.” Assange has had a number of visitors in recent months, including a dinner visit from popstar Lady Gaga. Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood also visited the Australian in October, showing her support by wearing tee-shirt which said “I am Julian Assange.”

(MORE: Wikileaks’ War on Secrecy: Truth’s Consequences)

The Ecuadorian Ambassador has confirmed that his government is covering Assange’s medical costs but fears that if his health continues to deteriorate and he does fall seriously ill, he will not be able to get proper medical care for fear of being arrested if  he leaves the embassy. The Ecuadorian embassy voiced concern over Assange’s health in October, when ministers commented that the Wikileaks founder appeared to have lost weight. Alban has explained that Ecuador is “waiting for a meeting” with either the U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague or U.K. Secretary Theresa May to discuss the Australian’s future, reports the BBC.

7 comments
notmenorme
notmenorme

Please help support freedom of the press and freedom of information by sponsoring Julian Assange for the Nobel prize for freedom of the press: Google: Avaaz.org Julian Assange for Nobel prize "Freedom of the Press" and vote!

AstridHofmann
AstridHofmann

He is a good reporter-thats what good reporting is-revealing the truth. By exposing the US government's status as a rogue state he was doing what any decent reporter would do......and to any patriotic americans out there- he has no allegiance to your country, your state secrets nor your corrupt governments. He's a brave voice in this increasingly authoritarian, unilaterally enforced gagging of the media and the silencing of  freedom of speech. .

therealDoodle
therealDoodle

He is a hero. The people deserve the truth no matter what sort of consequences it may have. 

Mike82000
Mike82000

He's an idiot to me and many, many millions of educated observers.

warrenharding
warrenharding

Since we know that the US government uses assassination liberally as a foreign policy tool, I hope Mr Assange has taken appropriate prophylactic measures for his food and such.  He is a true hero to me and many, many millions of educated observers.

epitygxanwn
epitygxanwn

Assange did a wicked thing by exposing all those state secrets in WIkileaks.

Still, I am almost willing to forgive him that for coming up with calling Sweden the "Saudi Arabia of feminism";)