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    Playing Dress-Up: Docs Reveal Plans to Smuggle Assange Out of Embassy

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    Going undercover in fancy dress, using discreet back doors and even a daring rooftop helicopter escape - these were some of the plans devised by diplomatic officials to try and smuggle WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, leaked documents have shown.

    The documents, reported by Ecuadorian journalist Fernando Villavicencio, revealed the various ways in which officials thought about trying to help Assange escape from the embassy without being arrested by British police officers.

    A supporter of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holds banners outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he marks three years since Assange claimed asylum in the embassy on June 19, 2015.
    © AFP 2019 / Justin Tallis
    A supporter of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holds banners outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he marks three years since Assange claimed asylum in the embassy on June 19, 2015.

    Among the bizarre proposals were suggestions that the Australian leave the building disguised in fancy dress, or that he leave the embassy in the hope of becoming lost in the crowds of people at the nearby retail store Harrods.

    "Assange could leave in fancy dress or try a discreet exit," one document said.

    Even more daring was a suggestion that Assange could reach a nearby helipad by escaping through the embassy's roof.

    "He can try to reach a nearby helipad across the rooftops, or he could get lost among the people in Harrods."

    British authorities have guarded the embassy to ensure that police will arrest the WikiLeaks founder and subsequently send him to Sweden for questioning over sexual assault and rape allegations, if he tries to leave the building.

    Surrounded by British police WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, centre, makes a statement to the media and supporters from a window of Ecuadorian Embassy in central London.
    © AP Photo / Sang Tan
    Surrounded by British police WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, centre, makes a statement to the media and supporters from a window of Ecuadorian Embassy in central London.

    The 44-year-old has denied the allegations, amid fears that any attempt to travel to Sweden will result in him being extradited to the US, where he is under investigation for potential breaches of the Espionage Act.

    It's thought the cost of guarding the embassy to prevent Assange leaving stands at $17 million (£11 million).

    Assange has been holed up in the embassy since June 2012, when he applied for, and was granted, political asylum in Ecuador.

    Related:

    Sweden, Ecuador Discuss Legal Cooperation to Speed Up Assange Case
    WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Still Resides in Ecuadorian Embassy
    Tags:
    embassy, escape, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, United Kingdom
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