Before he was arrested for “agreeing to break a password to a classified United States government computer,” per The Inquisitr, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange spent almost seven years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, avoiding extradition to Sweden in a now-dropped sexual assault case. However, his stay wasn’t free — not only did he have to avoid activity “considered as political or interfering with the internal affairs of other states,” but he also had to take care of his pet cat, which also has its own Twitter page.
Although the cat’s name is Michi — which Assange claims is “Ecuadorian for ‘cat,'” even though Ecuadorians speak Spanish — it often goes by the name Embassy Cat. Assange employed the cat in everything from gaining sympathy to promoting his WikiLeaks merchandise, such as T-shirts and mouse pads.
Back in October of 2018, Assange was given a new set of rules for the cat. Not only that, but the memo containing the rules said that Assange would lose the cat if he didn’t take care of its “well-being, food and hygiene.”
Per The Verge, it’s unclear how Assange obtained the cat, but we do know that he likes to dress it up in neckties and give it its own social media accounts. Unfortunately, the cat’s Twitter account hasn’t been updated since March of 2018, when Assange’s Twitter privileges were taken away for violating his agreement with Ecuador. Although Assange’s legal team appealed the decision — and his privileges were eventually partially restored — the account remains inactive.
Assange previously filed a lawsuit claiming that the rules imposed by the Ecuadorian embassy in London violated his rights, but this suit was thrown out. Karla Martinez, the Ecuadorian judge who threw the claim out, said that the embassy was “not violating his fundamental rights” with the rules — which included cleaning up after his cat, and paying for laundry facilities and internet use.
Before the claim was thrown out, Assange argued that the Ecuadorian authorities were talking with the U.S. and the United Kingdom over his status, and suggested that the rules were part of a scheme to remove him from the embassy. He made a 20-minute video-link presentation to the court to argue his case, per Vice News.
In response, Ecuador claimed that the rules are intended to ensure that their cohabitation arrangement works. Assange reportedly took up more than a third of the building’s space, and the country’s Attorney General, Inigo Salvador, said back in October of 2018 that Assange had cost Ecuador $6 million.