Supporters denounce Assange custodyJune 17th, 2011 - 3:17 pm ICT by IANS
London, June 17 (IANS) WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange - now in house arrest in Britain - is living under “unduly burdensome” conditions, his supporters say. One said he was being treated like a caged animal.
The Daily Mail reported that a video just been released shows cameras constantly monitoring the house where Assange is kept - Ellingham Hall in Norfolk.
Mansion owner Vaughan Smith says: “I’m not an expert on cameras but I believe these take number plates and record number plates. I think the country’s full of them. I don’t know why I need quite so many around my house.”
Assange is required to wear an electronic tag and report to police every day.
Sarah Harrison from WikiLeaks was quoted as saying: “I’m British and I’ve always been proud of our justice system, but this is just wrong. This is a man that hasn’t even been charged and he’s being treated like a caged animal.”
Assange faces accusations of sexual assault in Sweden, and is currently fighting his extradition.
His former lawyer Mark Stephens said: “The restrictions on him are unduly burdensome.”
Assange told the daily that he had become “a fixed target” for snoopers.
“It is easy to conduct surveillance against me and anyone I talk to. We take steps against this, but it is costly and time-consuming,” he said.
He said his house arrest was “the single largest impediment” to their work.
Besides there was the problem of some US-based banks refusing to handle payments to WikiLeaks.
US authorities are investigating whether WikiLeaks violated laws by releasing thousands of secret government documents, including classified diplomatic cables from US missions around the world.
“A lot of our resources are tied up in dealing with the situation in the US and the grand jury and this Swedish extradition case and the banking blockade placed on us by Visa, Mastercard, Bank of America and so on,” Assange said.
“So, while we are still producing publications every day, a lot of those resources have been taken away to deal with these events.”
Assange would appeal against his extradition to Sweden July 12.
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Tags: accusations, bank of america, blockade, daily mail, electronic tag, extradition case, grand jury, house arrest, impediment, justice system, mark stephens, number plates, sarah harrison, secret government documents, sexual assault, snoopers, target, vaughan smith, visa mastercard, wikileaks