WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, speaking during a
teleconference from Ecuador's embassy in central London, is
pictured on a screen . REUTERS/Eric Vidal
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is suffering from a
chronic lung ailment that could worsen at any time and is being
checked regularly by doctors, the Andean country's ambassador
to Britain said today.
Assange, 41, whose website angered the United States by
releasing thousands of secret diplomatic cables, has been
holed up inside Ecuador's embassy in London since June to
avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over rape and
sexual assault allegations. Assange has denied any
"He has a chronic lung complaint that could get worse any
time. The Ecuadorean state is covering Mr Assange's medical
costs and we have arranged for regular doctor visits to check
on his health," Ambassador Ana Alban told a local TV network
during a visit to Quito.
British authorities say Assange will be arrested if he sets
foot outside the embassy. The building, located just behind
London's famed Harrods department store, is under constant
Ecuador said last month it is worried about Assange's health
and asked Britain to guarantee him safe passage to hospital
from the embassy if he needs medical treatment.
That would allow him to return to the embassy after treatment
with refugee status.
Assange is said to be living a cramped life inside the modest
diplomatic mission. He eats mostly take-out food and uses a
treadmill to burn off energy and a vitamin D lamp to make up
for the lack of sunlight.
In late August, the former computer hacker said he expected
to wait six months to a year for a deal that would allow him
to leave the embassy.