Em­bassy’s staff cites As­sange’s hygiene in move

San Francisco Chronicle - - WORLD - By Jes­sica Sch­lade­beck Jes­sica Sch­lade­beck is a New York Daily News writer.

Staff at the Ecuado­ran Em­bassy in Lon­don grew tired of whiff­ing Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange, who re­port­edly does not at­tend to his own per­sonal hygiene.

It’s that lack of clean­li­ness, among other things, that fu­eled Ecuador’s re­cent at­tempts to end his five-year stand­off at the Knights­bridge em­bassy, the In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness Times re­ported.

“It seems he doesn’t wash prop­erly,” a “well-placed” source told the news out­let, not­ing the is­sue has prompted re­peated com­plaints from staff at the em­bassy.

As­sange re­port­edly com­plained of noise from a load­ing bay near his hide­out, which re­sulted in a fe­male re­stroom be­ing con­verted into a bed­room for him. The move left As­sange shar­ing a sin­gle re­stroom with em­bassy staff.

And it’s not the first time peo­ple around him have com­plained of As­sange’s ques­tion­able hygiene prac­tices.

“Ju­lian ate ev­ery­thing with his hands, and he al­ways wiped his fin­gers on his pants. I have never seen pants as greasy as his in my whole life,” one of his clos­est aides, Daniel Dom­scheit-Berg, told the Times.

Jeremie Zim­mer­mann, a friend and for­mer col­league, wrote in 2012 that “un­less the peo­ple around him force him to shower, he might not change his clothes for days.”

The Wik­iLeaks founder was made an Ecuado­ran cit­i­zen last month, the na­tion’s for­eign min­is­ter re­vealed Thurs­day, in a bid to re­solve the diplo­matic im­passe cre­ated by As­sange’s pres­ence.

Ear­lier last week, the Bri­tish For­eign Of­fice re­vealed it dis­missed re­quests from Ecuador for the Aus­tralia na­tive to be made an ac­cred­ited diplo­mat. Ecuador of­fi­cials hoped it would al­low for As­sange to leave the em­bassy — and Bri­tain — with­out ar­rest.

As­sange fled to the em­bassy in 2012 to avoid ex­tra­di­tion to Swe­den for ques­tion­ing on rape and sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions and was granted asy­lum there. The case in Swe­den was dropped af­ter pros­e­cu­tors ques­tioned him at the em­bassy. As­sange could still be ar­rested for skip­ping bail and faces jail time should he leave the em­bassy.

U.S. of­fi­cials told the Times that ar­rest­ing As­sange re­mains a pri­or­ity, though they did not con­firm whether the gov­ern­ment would re­quest his ex­tra­di­tion should he be ar­rested in Bri­tain. As­sange pre­vi­ously said U.S. au­thor­i­ties al­ready have pre­pared an in­dict­ment and made plans to ex­tra­dite him for es­pi­onage af­ter Wik­iLeaks dis­closed hun­dreds of clas­si­fied mil­i­tary doc­u­ments.

Frank Aug­stein / As­so­ci­ated Press 2017

Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange greets sup­port­ers in May out­side the Ecuado­ran Em­bassy in Lon­don. As­sange has been liv­ing in the em­bassy in since 2012 to avoid ar­rest.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.