Julian Assange: why WikiLeaks boss was kicked out of Embassy
Julian Assange was kicked out of the Ecuador embassy for allegedly sharing a photo of the president eating a lobster.
The WikiLeaks founder is accused of leaking an embarrassing snap of Ecuadorean premier Lenin Moreno dining on a platter of lobster in bed in a luxury hotel room.
According to The Sun, Mr Moreno was so furious at the breach that he ordered Assange’s seven-year refuge at the embassy be ended on Thursday, the Mail on Sunday reports.
The silver-haired hacker was booted out of his Knightsbridge safe haven after being handcuffed by embassy security and dragged out by officers from Scotland Yard.
The picture, which has been widely circulated on Twitter, comes at an awkward time for the president whose administration has the Ecuadorean people living under austerity measures.
Mr Moreno claimed Assange leaked the photo along with more than 200 private emails and text messages belonging to the president and his wife to website INApapers.org.
However, WikiLeaks have denied this and accused the Ecuadorean government of fabricating a story to see Assange out.
A statement on its website read: “’In short, the [Ecuadorean] government seeks a false pretext to end the asylum and protection of Julian Assange.”
Assange’s relationship with his hosts steadily declined over his stay in the embassy, with bizarre reports regarding his behaviour and personal hygiene emerging since his arrest.
He was said to have smeared his own poo all over the building’s walls in a protest and annoyed staff by skateboarding late at night.
Julian Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson just denied claims he staged a dirty protest.
She said: “It’s not true.
“Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the last few days to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy.”
Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy to avoid facing rape charges in Sweden after a woman accused him of attacking her at a WikiLeaks conference in Stockholm in 2010.
The hacker feared that once in Swedish custody the US would try to extradite him to answer conspiracy charges of “computer intrusion”.
The US government allege he conspired with ex-intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning who shared 90,000 Afghanistan war reports, 400,000 Iraq reports, 800 briefings on Guantánamo Bay detainees and 250,000 diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.
Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the last few days to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy.
Assange Lawyer, Jennifer Robinson said Assange’s fears of an extradition threat were proved correct after his arrest.
“The politics of the case with respect with Ecuador’s change of government, with Lenin Moreno coming to power, and ever since then inside the embassy it’s become more and more difficult to the point where Human Rights Watch said it was akin to solitary confinement,” she said.
“So he’s had a very difficult time. It’s not been easy.
“And to suggest that someone would chose to remain in there without legitimate concerns about US extradition, which is exactly what was proved this week, I think people can’t really understand what it would be like to live in a room like that for a very long time.”
After leaving the embassy Assange was taken to Westminster Magistrates’ Court before he was remanded into custody on Thursday.
He was later transferred to Wandsworth Prison in South West London, where he joined speedboat killer Jack Shepherd, another recaptured fugitive.
Assange will now learn his fate at Southwark Crown Court on May 2.
Originally published as Why Assange was ‘kicked out’