Stuck in the Ecuadorean embassy with an asylum offer but no way to leave, Julian Assange is in sort of a "no-man's land," one commentator told The Associated Press, as details of his de-facto incarceration have started emerging. The AP and the Evening Standard together paint the most detailed picture yet of what Assange's life is like inside the embassy in London.
The Ecuadorean embassy is not very big: a 10-room apartment on the ground floor of a Knightsbridge building it shares with Colombia and some apartments. And Assange hasn't been out of it since he fled there on June 19 after losing an appeal as he fought extradition to Sweden, where he's wanted for questioning on sexual assault allegations. So far we'd learned from The New York Times William Neuman and Maggy Ayala that Assange was sleeping "on an air mattress in a small office that has been converted to a bedroom," and that he wasn't getting any sunlight or exercise, apart from dancing with the occasional friend who dropped by. "A diplomat familiar with Mr. Assange’s situation said he spent his time in a back room, which gets no direct sunlight. Several weeks ago he had a bad cold and appeared depressed, the source said."
But on Friday The Associated Press's Jill Lawless took a much closer look at Assange's living conditions, painting a more detailed picture than that of The Times, and not quite as bleak. Lawless reported that the office-turned-quarters had been "outfitted with a bed" (she didn't specify whether it was inflatable), and, like The Times, noted that he has internet access and a phone. "A shower has been installed, and the embassy has a small kitchenette. Assange also has received deliveries of pizza and other take-out food." He also has a sun lamp and a treadmill, and those friends are still coming over and having him dance with them for a bit of activity. "He is said to while away hours reading books and watching DVDs but also works on his computer until the early hours," the Evening Standard's Kirin Randhawa reported.
But Assange "is happiest behind a computer doing his job," his friend Vaughn Smith, the journalist who owns the 600 acre estate where Assange had been staying before he fled, told Randhawa. "He is not a sentimental person and so does not miss things other people might miss. He is focused on work." But damn, it sounds like a tough life. Even prisoners get a bit of outdoor time.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.