Sat, Dec 01, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Assange downplays fears over health

Reuters, LONDON

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, holed up in London’s Ecuadoran embassy for nearly six months, played down concerns about his health on Thursday, saying he enjoyed being at the center of the legal and diplomatic storm.

Assange, whose Web site angered the US 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.

Ecuadoran officials have said he is suffering from a chronic lung ailment, but 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.

“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.”

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