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Published: Sunday 08 September, 2013

discount designer bags discount designer bags a year in the Ecuador embassy

LONDON: It is an odd sight: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is wearing a jacket and tie, but no shoes. Then again, if you have not stepped outside Ecuadors London embassy for a year, shoes are largely pointless.

In an interview with AFP to mark this strange anniversary, the man behind the whistleblowing website that unleashed the wrath of Washington insisted diplomats have the potential to end the deadlock that has left him trapped.

Like something out of a spy novel, Assange, a 41yearold former computer hacker from Australia, walked into the embassy on June 19, 2012 and claimed asylum in a sensational bid to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes.

Ecuador granted his request, accepting his fears that if sent to Sweden he might be passed on to the United States and prosecuted for publishing thousands of classified war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan and a cache of diplomatic cables. But Britain has refused to grant him safe passage to Ecuador.

For a year, police have maintained a 24hour guard at the doors of the embassya modest apartment around the corner from the Harrods department storeand are poised to arrest him if he tries to leave.

The last year, Assange says, has been like living on a space station. He has used a sun lamp to make up for the lack of natural light, and exercises on a treadmill. He has also been getting on with the business of being a thorn in Washington discount designer bags s side.

You ask how I deal with the difficulties of being confined. Well actually, my mind is not confined, he said, leaning back in a chair in the embassys tastefully decorated f discount designer bags ront room. The physical circumstances are difficult. However, Im working every day.

He spoke as shockwaves reverberated around the world over the biggest US leak since WikiLeaks published the war logs and diplomatic cables in 2010: the exposure of spy agencies massive electronic surveillance programmes.

Edward Snowden, an exCIA employee who says from exile in Hong Kong that his conscience drove him to reveal the scale of the governments spying on the public, faces a criminal probeand Assange fears he will be treated as harshly as Wi discount designer bags kiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning.

Mr Snowden is as good an example of a hero as any. He has performed an extremely courageous act, said Assange, hailing him for exposing Americas creeping mass surveillance state. What we dont want to see is him ending up the same way as Bradley Manning detained without trial, abused in prison and now facing life imprisonment.

Manning, a 25yearold US soldier, is being courtmartialled for passing the war logs and cables to WikiLeaks, with prosecutors arguing that leaking classified information is equivalent to helping AlQaeda.

Aiding the enemy can carry the death sentence, though prosecutors are not seeking it in Mannings case.

Theyre trying to erect a precedent that speaking to the media is the communicating with the enemya death penalty offence, said Assange.

Whats at stake in this trial is the future of press in the United States and in the rest of the world.

The name of the silverhaired WikiLeaks founder has come up frequently during the courtmartial, which began on June 3. He claims there is a sealed US indictment against him, and that his conviction is a 99percent chance certainty if he ever ends up on US territory. discount designer bags