00:47 GMT16 January 2021
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    WikiLeaks spokesman says that British police should save the public funds used to guard WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who is currently in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — British police should save the public funds used to guard WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who is currently in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, as the operation has cost 10 million pounds ($15 million) so far, the WikiLeaks spokesman told Sputnik news agency Tuesday.

    “If the Metropolitan Police asked for our advice, it would be to call off the police presence, stop this practice, and save public funds by doing so,” Kristinn Hrafnsson told Sputnik.

    On Tuesday, the chief of London’s Metropolitan Police Bernard Hogan-Howe said that the costs of Julian Assange’s security guards near the Ecuadorian Embassy in London are to be reviewed.

    “We won’t talk about tactics but we are reviewing what options we have. It is sucking our resources," Hogan-Howe said in an interview with the LBC broadcaster.

    “It does not surprise me that Metropolitan Police are trying to respond to the outrageous cost. It is outrageous that so much money is being spent on trying to apprehend a legitimate political refugee as Julian Assange is, for the simple reason of a request for questioning,” Hrafnsson told Sputnik. “That could easily have been done years ago.”

    Julian Assange has been wanted in Sweden for questioning since 2010 regarding an alleged sexual assault, but has never been formally charged by the Swedish court. The founder of WikiLeaks has repeatedly denied the allegations, stating they are politically motivated and fearing that his extradition to Sweden could serve as a pretext for transferring him to the United States.

    Following the publication of thousands of classified US government documents by WikiLeaks, Assange is wanted in the United States on charges of espionage.

    Assange has been residing in the Ecuadorean embassy in central London since 2012, facing extradition to Sweden should he step outside. December 7, 2014 marked four years since Assange was arrested without charge and almost 900 days that he has spent inside the Ecuadorian embassy.


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