In Brief

Julian Assange ‘used embassy as spying centre and hit staff’

Allegations from the President of Ecuador are denied by WikiLeaks founder's lawyer

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Julian Assange “hit” staff at the Ecuadorean embassy and spied on his hosts, claims The Times.

President Moreno of Ecuador alleges that Assange had “bothered and threatened guards; [and] hit and mistreated employees of the embassy” during his seven-year stay.

Assange faces up to 12 months in prison after being found guilty of breaching his bail conditions when he entered the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012.

He sought refuge in the embassy after losing his battle against extradition to Sweden where he faced allegations of rape, which he denies. But he was hauled out of the embassy by Metropolitan Police officers last week after his asylum was withdrawn. He had spent 2,487 days sheltering there.

He is expected to fight extradition to the US over an accusation that he conspired with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer.

Moreno accused Assange of trying to make the embassy a “centre for spying”, claiming that the founder of WikiLeaks had breached a “list of rules of behaviour” that included penetrating “the security apparatus of the mission and using a “security camera and electronic apparatus which was not authorised”.

The president says Assange also “brought in sealed bags and boxes which were not authorised; and maintained improper hygienic conduct which went on constantly during his stay”.

He adds that the hygiene issues affected Assange’s own health and damaged “the internal climate of the diplomatic mission”.

Footage of Assange trying to skateboard inside the embassy has been published by Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Assange's lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, has disputed the claims made by Moreno. 

She told Sky News: “I think the first thing to say is Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the past few days to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy.”

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