Julian Assange is living a life of almost total isolation inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London amid failing health and fears he could soon be forced out, friends say.
Vaughan Smith, a journalist and supporter of Assange, says he is worried for his well-being after he was banned from using the internet or having visitors in March.
Meanwhile there are rumors that Ecuador is being pressured to rescind Assange’s asylum so he can be arrested by British police and potentially extradited to the US.
Julian Assange may be forced from the Ecuadorian embassy amid renewed American interest in him and Wikileaks and their involvement in the 2016 election
Robert Mueller is believed to be investigating whether Assange conspired with Russian hackers to leak DNC emails in the run-up to the vote
Robert Mueller is believed to be looking into Assange and Wikileaks as part of his Russian election meddling probe.
It is not known if Mueller has enough evidence to charge Assange, but he has already indicted a dozen Russians and three companies over the DNC email leak.
Charging documents allege communications between Russian agents posing as hacker Guccifer2.0 and ‘Organisation-1’ – believed by many to be Wikileaks.
Assange’s supporters fear this renewed interest could persuade Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who has already called him a ‘hacker’, to sacrifice him, ABC News reports.
Even if Mueller does not charge him, Assange would almost certainly face charges over the leak of millions of highly-sensitive US diplomatic cables in 2010.
If he is kicked out of the embassy, he would be immediately arrested by British police for failing to surrender on a warrant related to a since-dropped rape case in Sweden.
While in British police custody, he could be hit with charges by American authorities, which would spark and extradition request.
Vaughn Smith, (right), Assange’s long-time supporter, says he is worried for his heath after he was banned from having visitors or using the internet back in March
Speaking to ABC, Smith said that Assange was feeling the pressure when he last saw him just a day before visitation was banned.
Despite that, Smith believes he will stay put until he is forced out.
He said: ‘Assange is a toughie. He is built to do this sort of thing.
‘He is motivated by a belief that he is making a difference. From his perspective, he considers that he’s doing the world a favor.’
Assange has been in self-imposed isolation inside the embassy since 2012 after a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden on charges of rape and molestation failed.
The activist said the request was a guise to get him into the hands of US authorities, who would likely lock him up for decades for the leak of diplomatic cables.
On March 28 this year, Assange was banned from having any contact with the outside world except via his legal team after he posted a tweet questioning the UK government’s claim that Russia was behind the Novichok attack in Salisbury.