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Leaked papers reveal Julian Assange’s life inside Ecuadorian Embassy

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Makes A Statement After Six Months Residing At The Ecuadorian EmbassyWikileaks Founder Julian Assange Makes A Statement After Six Months Residing At The Ecuadorian Embassy
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange parts the curtains as he starts to speak from a balcony at the Ecuadorian Embassy on Dec. 20, 2012, in London. Photograph by Peter Macdiarmid — Getty Images

In June, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange marked his third year hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. But it was certainly no celebration: Ecuadorian internal documents seen by Buzzfeed portray a life of maddening isolation, marked by occasional outbursts.

If he steps foot outside the embassy, Assange faces extradition to Sweden, where police have issued an arrest warrant for allegations that he raped one woman and assaulted another in 2010. Assange’s supporters say that he could be extradited to the United States from Sweden due to a U.S. government investigation into his role in releasing thousands of top secret materials the same year through WikiLeaks.

Assange’s current fate might not be so different from a Swedish or American prison, however. One Ecuadorian report notes: “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 minimise this.”

According to documents, Assange tends to shout during the night due to night terrors, and his “evident anger” has caused friction with embassy staff members. Ecuadorian papers advised that Assange’s access to alcohol should be limited, and his mental health monitored.

According to the documents, Assange had acted up twice during his confinement in the embassy. In one case, he slipped into an off-limits control room and scuffled with a guard. Another report said that an enormous bookshelf in Assange’s room had been knocked over and smashed shortly before dawn–an incident that did little to assuage the embassy’s concerns about the WikiLeaks founder’s mental health.

The documents also reveal the embassy’s ideas to steal Assange out of the building, including appointing him Ecuador’s representative to the United Nations, which provides diplomatic immunity. Another idea was to smuggle the asylum-seeker outside the embassy in an unmarked car, but that idea was nixed: “Police are located in the hall, on the stairs, and the exits of the lifts,” a report stated. “The British police can be found in all the routes that would allow Assange to take a diplomatic car.”

The idea that Assange abscond in “fancy dress” was probably discounted for the same reason.