In an interview with Sky News, the former Consul of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Fidel Narvaez, has accused staffers of putting Julian Assange through “hell” in a bid to boot out the whistleblower by “breaking him down”.
“The last year was hell for Julian in that embassy. I was there the first months of the last year and I witnessed when Julian was told that he would no longer be allowed to have internet or access to the phone and wouldn’t be able to have visitors. The strategy was very clear – break him down. The government didn’t know how to end the asylum and face the catastrophic historical shame for doing that”.
The former senior diplomat, who worked at the London embassy for six of the seven years that Assange resided there, in fact, denied the claims by the Ecuadorian government that the journalist didn’t clean up after himself, his cat, and smeared excrement on the walls.
“Julian had a respectful relationship with staff, diplomats, and administrative staff. I don’t recall a single incident when he disrespected someone until I left in July 2018. He was 100% respectful. Clean and tidy? What is clean and tidy? Did he put the dishes in the dishwasher? Probably not at weekends. Is that a crime?” Narvaez continued.
He has as well explained Assange’s decision not to go to Sweden back in 2012, where he was being probed in a sexual assault case, saying that the WikiLeaks founder was concerned over a possible extradition to the United States for leaking confidential government data.
“I consider him my friend. He’s provided a big service to all of us. It doesn’t matter if we like him or not. It doesn’t matter if he puts the dishes in the dishwasher or looks after the cat well. I stand by Julian. I believe him”, Narvaez said.
The diplomat's interview comes nearly two weeks after Ecuador’s Ambassador to the UK Jaime Marchan claimed that Assange’s relationship with the embassy staff deteriorated towards the end of his asylum to an extent that he smeared faeces on the walls.
“When Assange wanted to be unpleasant, he put excrement on the walls and underwear with excrement in the lavatory. We had to remind him to flush the toilet and clean the dishes. He had to be reminded of normal standards of behaviour all the time”, Marchan told the Daily Mail.
He went on to say that the personnel was ostensibly so irritated with him, they kicked out his cat for failing to clean up its mess, and they were suspicious that it “may carry a device to spy on us”.
Assange had been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years until 11 April when he was arrested by UK police after Quito withdrew his asylum status for alleged “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols”.
Hours after being dragged out of the embassy, the whistleblower was taken to a London court, where he was convicted of skipping bail in the UK after a 2012 extradition order to Sweden, where he was being investigated over sexual assault charges.
The UK judge added that the US must present all the necessary documents regarding an extradition request for Assange by 12 June.
Assange, who rose to worldwide prominence after his website WikiLeaks published Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, US State Department cables and Guantanamo Bay secrets, received asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden.
He has repeatedly denied sexual assault allegations in Sweden, insisting that they were politically motivated and designed to have him extradited to the United States since the charges followed the leak of classified documents.