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article imageAssange 'suffering chronic lung condition' — Ecuador ambassador

By Anne Sewell     Nov 29, 2012 in World
London - Ecuador's ambassador to London, Ana Alban, says that while WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange is not yet seriously ill, his condition could worsen, holed up in such a small space during a long London winter. (Updated).
Assange has been confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than 5 months, after first applying for, and then receiving political asylum in Ecuador. Despite having asylum granted to him, Assange is unable to leave the embassy and travel to Ecuador, as UK authorities will not grant him safe passage.
For this reason, he has been confined to a small space for several months, and recently Digital Journal reported that concerns have arisen as to his health. It was noted that when Assange gave an address to the UN General Assembly in September, he looked very pale and wan and appeared to have lost weight.
Recently Ecuador's ambassador to the UK, Ana Alban was visiting Quito and spoke to an Ecuadorian TV network. She told reporters that Assange is believed to be suffering from a "chronic lung condition", which “could lead to complications.”
Assange currently stays in a small room living on take-away and microwaved meals, and relies on a treadmill for exercise. To compensate for lack of sunshine and fresh air, he uses a sunlamp.
“Imagine how well someone is in a space of 50 square meters [around 540 square feet], without much sun and poor air circulation,” Alban said. “It’s absolutely logical to think that a human being in these circumstances is not going to be living well.”
Alban said that the cold, dark London winter, and the fact that Assange has not been in the outside air for around five months, has been detrimental to his health.
Alban told the reporters that Assange requires constant medical attention in the embassy and that Ecuador is covering treatment costs, but is concerned that his condition could deteriorate, without access to fresh air and sunlight.
She said that she intends to appeal to the Home Office for Assange to be granted safe passage to medical services for proper treatment for his illness.
Vivienne Westwood wearing an  I m Julian Assange  t-shirt outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Vivienne Westwood wearing an "I'm Julian Assange" t-shirt outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Vivienne Westwood
He has, however, received a few high-profile visitors during his stay. Recently he enjoyed a dinner visit with Lady Gaga. London fashion designer, Vivienne Westwood, also visited Assange in October, showing her support and wearing a t-shirt reading "I'm Julian Assange" which she designed and is selling, giving all profits in support of WikiLeaks.
Assange sought asylum in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on alleged sexual assault charges, for which he denies guilt, after his appeal against extradition failed. It is feared that should he be sent to Sweden, he would then be passed on to the US on espionage charges for the release of sensitive diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, that have both embarrassed and outraged the US government.
Update:
Following the release of the above story, the Ecuadorian Embassy has now released the following statement:
PRESS RELEASE – NOTA DE PRENSA
November 29, 2012
“In reference to reported comments of the Ambassador Ana Alban, Julian Assange does not have an urgent medical condition.
We continue to seek the assurances from the UK and Swedish governments to enable him to live a normal life, free from the fear of extradition to the United States.
The government of Ecuador requests that the UK government undertakes to guarantee any future humanitarian assistance that Julian Assange may need respecting the protection granted to him by Ecuador”
Other recent Assange news:
Assange: 'Entire nations intercepted in total web surveillance'
Julian Assange interviewed on CNN's 'OutFront with Erin Burnett'
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