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WikiLeaks

‘He doesn’t wash properly’: staff at Ecuador embassy complained about Julian Assange’s poor hygiene

WikiLeaks founder fled to the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on rape and sexual assault allegations and was granted asylum there

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 January, 2018, 12:24pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 January, 2018, 7:11pm

Staff at the Ecuador embassy in London grew tired of whiffing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who reportedly does not attend to his own personal hygiene.

It’s that lack of cleanliness, among other things, that fuelled Ecuador’s recent attempts to end his five-year stand-off at the Knightsbridge embassy, the International Business Times reported.

“It seems he doesn’t wash properly,” a “well-placed” source told the news outlet, noting the issue has prompted repeated complaints from staff at the UK embassy.

Assange reportedly complained of noise from a loading bay near his hideout, which resulted in a female restroom being converted into a bedroom for him. The move left Assange sharing a single bathroom with embassy staff.

And it’s not the first time people around him have complained of Assange’s questionable hygiene practices.

Julian ate everything with his hands and he always wiped his fingers on his pants
Daniel Domscheit-Berg, aide

“Julian ate everything with his hands and he always wiped his fingers on his pants. I have never seen pants as greasy as his in my whole life,” one of his closest aides, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, told the Times.

Jeremie Zimmermann, a friend and former colleague, wrote in 2012 that “unless the people around him force him to shower, he might not change his clothes for days”.

The WikiLeaks founder was made an Ecuadorean citizen last month, the nation’s foreign minister revealed on Thursday, in a bid to resolve the diplomatic impasse created by Assange’s presence.

Earlier this week, the UK’s Foreign Office revealed it dismissed requests from Ecuador for the Australia native to be made an accredited diplomat. Ecuador officials hoped it would allow for Assange to leave the embassy – and Britain – without arrest.

He fled to the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on rape and sexual assault allegations and was granted asylum there. The case in Sweden was dropped after prosecutors questioned him at the embassy. Assange could still be arrested for skipping bail and faces jail time should he leave the embassy.

US officials told the Times on Wednesday that arresting Assange remains a priority, though did not confirm whether the government would request his extradition should he be arrested in the UK.

Assange previously claimed United States authorities have already prepared an indictment and made plans to extradite him for espionage after WikiLeaks dumped hundreds of classified military documents.