Skip to main content

Embassy life like 'a space station,' Assange says

From Atika Shubert, CNN
October 26, 2012 -- Updated 1338 GMT (2138 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in Ecuador's Embassy since June
  • "I know what life is like for prisoners. It's a lot better than it is for prisoners," he says
  • He has been fighting extradition to Sweden, where he faces sex assault allegations
  • Assange says Sweden would extradite him to the United States

London (CNN) -- Four months holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been "a little like living in a space station" but beats prison, fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Thursday.

Assange sought refuge in the embassy in June, after losing a court battle against extradition to Sweden. Since then, he has been living in a single room with a frosted-glass window while the business of the diplomatic mission goes on around him.

"It's a little like living in a space station, because there's no natural light and you've got to make all your own stuff. You can't go out to shops and so on," Assange told CNN in an interview Thursday. "But I have been in solitary confinement. I know what life is like for prisoners. It's a lot better than it is for prisoners."

Embassy staffers would not allow CNN to view his living quarters, but Assange appeared relaxed and healthy despite his restricted circumstances. His comments came the same day WikiLeaks began disclosing a new round of U.S. military documents dealing with handling prisoners in American military custody.

Though the first of the newly published documents include no bombshells, Assange said the records his group will put out are "documents of incredible historical importance" and demonstrate a "climate of unaccountability" within the U.S. government.

Lady Gaga visits Assange in London

Ecuador granted Assange asylum in August, amid a diplomatic row between the United Kingdom and his South American hosts. British courts have approved his extradition to Sweden, and Assange faces arrest if he sets foot outside the embassy.

Assange has not been charged with a crime, but Sweden has said it wants to question him about allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman there. Assange has denied the allegations and says they're a ruse to get him to Sweden, which would then extradite him to the United States.

A U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, is currently awaiting trial on charges that he leaked hundreds of thousands of classified military and State Department documents while serving in Iraq. Many of those documents ended up on the WikiLeaks website, and Manning could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty.

Assange said his standoff could end if the United States dropped its investigation of WikiLeaks.

"It's an immoral investigation," he said. "It breaches the First Amendment, it breaches all the principles that the U.S. government says it stands for and it absolutely breaches the principles the Founding Fathers stood for and which most of the U.S. people believe in."

Ecuador, UK officials meet over Assange case

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
WikiLeaks
November 10, 2011 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
From "Climategate" to leaked diplomatic cables, CNN takes an inside look at the WikiLeaks organization.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1802 GMT (0202 HKT)
A detention order against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on sexual assault allegations should remain in place, a Swedish judge ruled.
June 17, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
A U.S. soldier imprisoned for leaking documents to WikiLeaks broke her silence in a fiery editorial accusing the United States of lying about Iraq.
March 10, 2014 -- Updated 0044 GMT (0844 HKT)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that everyone in the world will be just as effectively monitored soon -- at least digitally.
January 3, 2014 -- Updated 0058 GMT (0858 HKT)
There have been other leaks before Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning.
July 31, 2013 -- Updated 0600 GMT (1400 HKT)
A military judge acquitted Army Pfc. Bradley Manning of aiding the enemy, but convicted him of violations of the Espionage Act for turning over a trove of classified data to the website WikiLeaks.
July 31, 2013 -- Updated 0050 GMT (0850 HKT)
Bradley Manning is naturally adept at computers, smart and opinionated, even brash, according to those who say they know him.
June 23, 2013 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
assange snowden
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange urged the world to "stand with" Edward Snowden, the man who admitted leaking top-secret details about U.S. surveillance programs.
June 11, 2013 -- Updated 1146 GMT (1946 HKT)
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, knows something about secrets and what happens when they're exposed.
June 3, 2013 -- Updated 2311 GMT (0711 HKT)
Prosecutors say a 25-year-old Army private accused of aiding the nation's enemies through the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history "craved" notoriety.
August 16, 2012 -- Updated 1407 GMT (2207 HKT)
From the issuing of an arrest warrant, to a decision on Assange's asylum, see how the story has developed.
June 30, 2012 -- Updated 1949 GMT (0349 HKT)
Julian Assange is waiting to hear if Ecuador will grant him asylum. He's dangling from a cliff, for sure. Hanging by a pinky next to him -- WikiLeaks.
October 29, 2012 -- Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT)
Holed up in Ecuador's Embassy in London, Julian Assange talks at length about his life and motivations.
August 20, 2012 -- Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
Assange's move is dramatic, but he's not the first person to seek an escape route through a diplomatic mission. Here are some key precedents.
May 30, 2012 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
assange
Assange is a self-appointed champion of free speech and the founder of a web operation that has greatly antagonized the U.S. government.
July 6, 2012 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
WikiLeaks said it has begun publishing some 2.4 million e-mails from Syrian politicians, government ministries and companies dating back to 2006.
ADVERTISEMENT