Housing Julian Assange during his seven-year hide-out in London was reportedly a costly endeavor for Ecuador.
The WikiLeaks founder was granted asylum by Ecuador and allowed to live in the country’s London embassy for the last seven years, until the country dropped his protection and Assange was arrested this week. A new report from Ecuador’s largest daily newspaper showed that housing Assange cost Ecuador nearly $1 million per year, adding up to $6.5 million in total.
Ecuadorian foreign minister José Valencia told El Universo that the costs were mostly on security, but also medical expenses, food, and washing his clothes.
It was reportedly not an easy stay. Reports have indicated that Julian Assange was a poor houseguest, refusing to keep his space clean, not caring for his cat, and exhibiting bad hygiene habits.
As the Daily Mail reported, Ecuadorian Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo spoke out against Julian Assange after his arrest, saying that the previous administration was too lenient and allowed him to get away with some disgusting habits.
“During his stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy, during the government of the former president Rafael Correa, they tolerated things like Mr Assange putting feces on the walls of the embassy and other types of behavior of this kind that is far removed from the minimum respect a guest should have in a country which has generously welcomed him,” Romo said in a statement.
Others spoke out against Assange. As ABC News reported, Assange was described as “discourteous and aggressive” by President Lenin Moreno, who had some very harsh words for the Wikileaks founder.
“From now on we have to be very careful giving asylum when the moment arises, to give it to people who are truly worth it and not miserable hackers whose only intent is to destabilize governments,” Moreno said on Thursday, via El Universo.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) April 14, 2019
Ecuadorian government officials also accused Julian Assange of continuing his work with WikiLeaks and launching attacks on foreign governments, going against an agreement he made when entering the embassy to halt his work.
But the arrest has also brought worldwide support for Julian Assange, with many describing his arrest as an attack on free press. Many groups have called for him to be released, including Assange’s father, who called on his native Australia to bring him home rather than allowing him to be brought to the United States. Assange will face charges of conspiracy to commit computer hacking.