WikiLeaks' Assange downplays health concerns

LONDON Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:47am IST

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves the Supreme Court at the end of the second day of his extradition appeal, in London February 2, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/Files

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves the Supreme Court at the end of the second day of his extradition appeal, in London February 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor/Files

Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers ride their camels as they rehearse for the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony in New Delhi January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

"Beating The Retreat" Rehearsals

Rehearsals are on for "Beating the Retreat" ceremony which symbolises retreat after a day on the battlefield, and marks the official end of the Republic Day celebrations.  Slideshow 

LONDON (Reuters) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in London's Ecuadorian embassy for nearly six months, played down concerns about his health on Thursday, saying he enjoyed being at the centre of the legal and diplomatic storm.

Assange, 41, whose website angered the United States by releasing thousands of secret diplomatic cables, took sanctuary in Ecuador's embassy in June, jumping bail after exhausting appeals in British courts against extradition to Sweden for sexual assault allegations.

Ecuadorian officials have said the former computer hacker is suffering from a chronic lung ailment as a result of his long stay in the embassy.

Dressed in a dark suit and white shirt fastened with silver-coloured cufflinks in the shape of a 'W' and an 'L', Assange showed no outward sign of health problems.

"The confinement, the circumstances are obviously difficult," was all Assange would say when questioned about his health by Reuters.

"I rather enjoy being swept away in the storm of it all. You only live once so it's important that we do something that is meaningful with our time," he said.

He 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.

The whistleblower said he has used his time at the embassy to focus on his work, including a book "Cypherpunks" in which he warns that the growing amount of personal data we store online could render society a "slave to the internet".

Speaking in a gilt-corniced conference room, accessed via an entrance hall decorated with a beaming portrait of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, Assange spoke vehemently about the dangers of cyber-surveillance by governments and private companies.

(Reporting By Alessandra Prentice)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Reuters Showcase

ONGC Share Sale

ONGC Share Sale

ONGC share sale scheduled for this fiscal - oil minister  Full Article 

The Apple logo is pictured inside the newly opened Omotesando Apple store at a shopping district in Tokyo June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/Files

Record Earnings

Apple iPhone sales trample expectations as profit sets global record  Full Article 

'Umrika' At Sundance

'Umrika' At Sundance

From Oscars to Sundance, Sharma and Revolori discuss India's 'Umrika'  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Smooth Wawrinka, ill Serena through to Melbourne semis   Full Article 

India's Male Tenor

India's Male Tenor

India's lone male tenor aims to sing opera in local key  Full Article 

Japan Hostages

Japan Hostages

Mother of Japanese captive begs PM to save son held by Islamic State  Full Article 

Tripoli Attack

Tripoli Attack

Frenchman, American among those killed in Tripoli hotel attack - Libyan official.  Full Article 

U.S. Blizzard

U.S. Blizzard

Blizzard hits Boston and New England, spares New York despite forecasts.  Full Article 

Spying Row

Spying Row

Spying program leaked by Snowden is tied to campaign in many countries.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage