It didn’t take long for Ecuador to spill the dirt on its most famous houseguest. From bad hygiene, to skateboarding in the halls, to insulting staff, Julian Assange really wore out his welcome.
Within hours of the WikiLeaks founder being dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Thursday, lawmakers in Quito were sticking in the knife in by describing just how much money it cost to accommodate Assange and revealing details of his personal behavior that led to President Lenin Moreno to revoke his asylum.
Assange was “an inherited problem” and a “stone in the shoe” for Moreno, who has always viewed the whistleblower with a certain amount of disdain.
In a video statement published as Assange was being manhandled into a police van in London on Thursday morning, Moreno didn’t hide his feelings.
“The discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange; the hostile and threatening declarations of his allied organization against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable,” Moreno said.
Assange entered the embassy in 2012 seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations. Now Assange is facing up to five years in jail for trying to help Chelsea Manning hack into a secure Pentagon computer system.
Several other lawmakers in Ecuador spoke publicly Thursday about Assange’s behavior during his almost seven-year stay inside the embassy, outlining a litany of grievances against the 47-year-old.
Here are the reasons Ecuador says it could no longer offer Assange asylum:
- Feces: Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo told reporters Thursday that the previous administration had allowed Assange to get away with behavior like ”putting feces on the walls of the embassy and other behaviors of that nature.”
- Costs: Foreign Minister José Valencia told Ecuador’s National Assembly that the country had spent in total $5.8 million in security costs between June 2012 to September 2018. The security costs since have dropped Valencia said, but he added that the country had laid out about $400,000 in medical, food, laundry and legal expenses for Assange.
- Skateboarding: Valencia outlined some of Assange’s more erratic behavior inside the embassy, including skateboarding, a practice Ecuador’s former ambassador to Britain, Juan Falconí Puig, said “damaged floors, walls, and doors.” Assange also liked to play soccer inside with many of the guests who visited. On one occasion when a security guard took Assange’s ball away, the WikiLeaks founder shoved the guard, grabbed the ball and “launched the ball at his body.”
- Hygiene: Valencia told lawmakers that Assange had “improper hygiene practices,” a charge which has been levied against Assange previously. Last October the embassy staff were so fed up with Assange’s personal habits, that they issued a memo demanding he clean up after himself.
- Aggressive behavior: Both Moreno and Valencia described Assange’s behavior towards embassy staff as “aggressive.” This included insulting embassy staff and using a loudspeaker in the middle of the night. He also used to block security cameras and accuse staff of spying on him.
- Spying allegations: It appears that one of the final straws was WikiLeaks’ allegations earlier this week that the Ecuadorian government was trying to blackmail Assange using videotapes of a medical examination obtained by a sophisticated surveillance system inside the embassy.
- Health: Ecuador also said it had concerns about Assange’s health. Romo said his mental and physical health deteriorated while he was holed up inside the embassy.