Julian Assange’s attorney denies "outrageous" claims WikiLeaks founder was a terrible house guest, says Ecuador lied
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s attorney has denied “outrageous” allegations made by Ecuador that her client was an ill-mannered houseguest who was dirty andsmeared feces over their London embassy’s walls.
Australian human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson on Sunday condemned allegations that Assange behaved grossly during his time as a houseguest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and claimed they were invented to justify the decision to allow United Kingdom authorities to arrest the WikiLeaks founder on Thursday.
"The first thing to say is Ecuador has been making some outrageous allegations. It's a difficult situation,” Robinson told Sky News. "Ecuador has made these allegations to justify the unlawful and extraordinary act of letting police come inside an embassy.”
"I've been visiting him for the last seven years. This man has been inside a room with no outside access. Inside the embassy it's become more difficult. The politics changed when Ecuador's political situation changed with a new leader,” she added. "He stayed inside the embassy for so long because of a real and legitimate fear of U.S. extradition which, as we saw on Thursday, proved to be justifiable fears."
Robinson also highlighted comments from U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who expressed his belief that Britain shouldn’t extradite Assange to the United States where he faces “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” charges over documents he published through WikiLeaks in 2010.
"It is right and correct for Jeremy Corbyn to say what he said," the attorney said, noting that Assange was performing acts of journalism by publishing the confidential U.S. documents.
Ecuador President Lenin Moreno, who withdrew asylum status for Assange on Thursday leading to his arrest, said the WikiLeaks founder was a “spoiled brat” and a “thorn.” "You can’t arrive at a house that welcomes you warmly, that gives you food, and takes care of you, and start to denounce the owner of the house. We’ve removed the asylum for this spoiled brat and, fortunately, we’ve gotten rid of a thorn in our side,” Moreno said.
"From now on we’ll be more careful in giving asylum to people who are really worth it, and not miserable hackers whose only goal is to destabilize governments," he added.
Last week, Ecuador’s Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo echoed Moreno’s statements, saying Assange was found to have been physically harassing those that looked after him in the embassy and had been smearing his feces on walls inside the building. Ecuador also claimed Assange was bad at flushing the toilet, left used underwear in the bathroom and did not clean up after he had meals, among other things.
Prior to his arrest on Thursday, Assange had been residing inside the small Ecuadorian embassy for almost seven years after first arriving in June 2012. According to the Guardian, the nation accommodated Assange by converting an office into a bedroom and allowing him access to a shared bathroom and kitchen.
In 2010, Assange avoided extradition to Sweden after two women accused him of rape and sexual assault. At the time, he dismissed the allegations as an extradition attempt by the U.S. over his publishing of classified documents on WikiLeaks.
"This was and is not about avoiding facing Swedish justice,” Robinson said. “It is about avoiding U.S. injustice. He has cooperated with the Swedish investigation. Swedish prosecutors came into the embassy to hear his testimony. After that they closed the case."
While Swedish authorities dropped the sexual assault allegations in 2017, British police were still seeking to hold Assange for failing to surrender himself after a warrant was issued in 2012. The Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday found Assange guilty of breaching his bail conditions. He will be sentenced at a later date.
Robinson did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for further comment.