Friday, June 21

Assange spied on by Ecuador’s diplomatic staff



An Ecuadorian lawyer for Julian Assange has filed a complaint alleging diplomatic staff from Ecuador spied on the WikiLeaks founder while he was at the country’s London embassy.

The alleged spying uncovered information about Mr Assange’s legal defence and medical issues, Carlos Poveda said in the complaint submitted Monday to the attorney general’s office in Ecuador.

The lawyer claimed diplomats and members of a security firm were involved in surveillance efforts in west London.

Mr Assange had enjoyed asylum at the embassy since 2012, but Ecuador evicted him on 11 April. He is now in custody in the UK awaiting sentencing for skipping bail to avoid being sent to Sweden as part of an investigation into a rape allegation.

The British government has previously said the WikiLeaks founder will not face the death penalty if he is extradited to the US.

In letters sent last year to Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno, both current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt and his predecessor Boris Johnson said an extradition would not be ordered “unless the home secretary has first received an adequate assurance that the death penalty will not be imposed”.

The letters were sent before he was stripped of his political asylum and Ecuadorian nationality.

Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said Mr Assange had been evicted from after repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols, and later called him a spoiled brat who treated his hosts with disrespect.

Another of Mr Assange’s lawyers recently denied he had smeared excrement on the walls of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, after the claim was made by the nation’s interior minister Maria Paula Romo.

Jennifer Robinson said: Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations … to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy.

Ms Romo said Mr Assange’s mental and physical health had deteriorated during his seven-year stay in the embassy.