World

Assange has chronic lung infection: Ecuador’s envoy

PTI London/Quito | Updated on November 29, 2012

Julian Assange Wikileaks founder

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up at Ecuador’s embassy here for five months, has a “chronic” lung infection that could get worse, the South American nation’s envoy to the UK has said.

“He has a chronic lung condition that could worsen at any time,” Ambassador Ana Alban said on Assange, who is fighting UK efforts to extradite him to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.

“Mr Assange, as everyone knows, is in a confined space,” Alban told presspersons in the Ecuadorian capital ahead of an annual gathering of the country’s top diplomats with President Rafael Correa.

“Not only does the embassy have few windows but the city is also dark at this time — we have very little daylight in London. He is exposed to many health consequences from this lack of sunlight and lack of fresh air,” Alban was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Ecuador previously sought assurances he would not be arrested if hospitalised.

The UK said then it would not prevent “any medical care that he requires”.

Assange, 41, an Australian national, had taken refuge in the embassy on June 19. He was granted asylum by Ecuador in August.

Assange, who has breached bail conditions by staying at Ecuador’s embassy here, faces arrest if he leaves.

He is wanted for questioning in Sweden over rape and sexual assault allegations, which he denies. He was arrested in the UK on an extradition warrant.

She said Ecuador was “waiting for a meeting” with either UK Foreign Secretary William Hague or UK Home Secretary Theresa May to discuss Assange’s future.

Since 2010, Assange’s WikiLeaks Web site has published hundreds of thousands of leaked US diplomatic cables, angering Washington.

In 2010, two women accused Assange of committing sexual offences against them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture. Assange says the sex was consensual and that he believes the case to be politically motivated.

He says he fears being passed on to authorities in the US if extradited to Sweden.

But Swedish prosecutors have dismissed Assange’s claims their case is part of a wider political move to see him stand trial in the US over his work with Wikileaks.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on November 29, 2012
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor