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US journalist 'locked in surveilled room' to meet Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at London embassy

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has “less rights than a prisoner” as he remains inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London after almost seven years, according to the editor of the anti-secrecy publisher.

The charge was made after an American journalist said she was “locked in a cold, surveilled room” inside the embassy for more than an hour as she tried to meet Assange as part of a “routine visit”.

Cassandra Fairbanks said he was barred from entering the room where he was supposed to meet her for a pre-arranged meeting because he refused to submit to a full body search and continuous surveillance.

Writing on US political blog The Gateway Pundit, Fairbanks said she heard Assange say: “I don’t want to do the body scan. It is undignified and not appropriate. I am just trying to have a private meeting with a journalist.”

She wrote: “I found myself locked in a cold, surveilled room for over an hour by Ecuadorian officials, as a furious argument raged between the country’s ambassador and Julian Assange…”

The journalist said it was the third time she had visited the embassy in the past year, saying each time the atmosphere seemed “progressively worse”.

Wikileaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson said: “The treatment of Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy is unacceptable.

“It is despicable that a nation’s government turns against a man it has granted a diplomatic asylum in such a way that he has less rights than a prisoner.”

Fairbanks’ claims were verified by Assange’s legal teams, Wikileaks said.

Tomorrow marks a year since the Ecuadorian government cut Assange’s communications with the outside world and limited visitors to the embassy to meet with him.

Picture: Reuters/Peter Nicholls

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