Ecuador President: Assange's Bad Hygiene a Big Issue

President Lenín Moreno says he tried to use embassy as 'center for spying'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2019 8:05 AM CDT
Updated Apr 15, 2019 11:57 AM CDT
Ecuador: Assange Tried to Turn Embassy Into 'Center for Spying'
Police bundle WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy into a police van in London after he was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody Thursday April 11, 2019.   (@DailyDOOH via AP)

Julian Assange was a bad guest who attempted to turn Ecuador's embassy in London into a "center for spying." So charges Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno in an interview with the Guardian, elaborating on comments he made roughly a week before Assange's arrest. In early April, Moreno complained in an interview that "photos of my bedroom, what I eat and how my wife and daughters and friends dance" had been shared online, and while he didn't finger Assange, his government thought WikiLeaks was behind the leak. In his new comments, Moreno said, "We can not allow our house, the house that opened its doors, to become a center for spying," a line the Guardian sees as a reference to the leaked photos. "This activity violates asylum conditions." More standout lines:

  • "It is unfortunate that, from our territory and with the permission of authorities of the previous government, facilities have been provided within the Ecuadorian embassy in London to interfere in processes of other states." The BBC notes Moreno became president in 2017; Assange entered the embassy in 2012.

  • "The withdrawal of his asylum ... is a sovereign decision. We do not make decisions based on external pressures from any country."
  • "He maintained constant improper hygienic behavior throughout his stay, which affected his own health and affecting the internal climate of the diplomatic mission. In addition, Assange had health problems that should also be resolved."
  • This after fiery comments that Vox reports were made by Moreno on Thursday: "We've ended the asylum of this spoiled brat. 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."
  • As for that unhygienic behavior, the AP on Thursday cited an Ecuadorian official who alleged Assange went weeks without showering, had issues with his teeth due to his habits, and at one point smeared his poop on embassy walls.
  • Another unappealing line from the AP: "Embassy staff complained of him skateboarding at night, playing loud music and walking around in his underwear with no apparent concern for others in the tiny embassy."
  • El Pais reports something similar regarding the underwear, hearing from security guards who worked at the embassy that Assange allegedly sat for interviews dressed properly from the waist up. What you could see on screen was that he allegedly wore no pants.
  • ABC News notes Assange's alleged bad hygiene was documented well before he even entered the embassy. It quotes lines from a 2011 New York Times piece in which Bill Keller recounted first meeting Assange, describing him as "like a bag lady walking in off the street, wearing a ... dirty white shirt, beat-up sneakers and filthy white socks that collapsed around his ankles. He smelled as if he hadn't bathed in days."
Read the full interview here. (More Julian Assange stories.)

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