Hrafnsson sought to collect Assange’s belongings which were left behind in the embassy after he was arrested on April 11. However, the Icelandic investigative journalist failed to even enter the premises of the diplomatic mission, as, according to him, the Ecuadorian diplomats simply refused to open the door and let him in.
“I sent them an email and told them I would be there at 3 o’clock with a full mandate from Julian Assange, his family and friends and that I am the editor-in-chief of the WikiLeaks. They did not open the door. It is disgraceful,” Hrafnsson told a crowd of around 50 Assange supporters that had gathered in front of the embassy following the publisher’s extradition hearing.
A crowd which staged an improvised rally in front of the mission chanted: “respect the law”, “free Assange” and “open the door.” Some of the demonstrators were also holding placards that read: “Free Assange” and “Free Speech.”
Hrafnsson told the gathering that the actions of the embassy staff amount to nothing less than a “theft”. He said that he called the police in an attempt to secure their help in retrieving property belonging to the WikiLeak’s co-founder. “But they declined to do so as they said it was not theft because those were not MY belongings,” he said.
Eventually, Hrafnsson managed to grab the attention of a police patrol walking down the street near the embassy and convinced them to enter the embassy to sort it out. However, police did not have any luck either and returned empty-handed while telling Hrafnsson that he should have arranged a formal meeting with the Ecuadorian diplomats.
“The police are going to take the matter further and I hope they will establish a channel so that we can retrieve the belongings that are illegally held here,” he said.
Embassy staff were not that scrupulous back in April when they allowed British police to detain Assange. He was dragged out of the diplomatic mission as he shouted: “UK… must resist!”
Assange spent about seven years in the embassy. Last month, he was formally convicted of skipping bail in the UK in 2012 when he was wanted over a rape allegation in Sweden – a the case that was later dropped.
On Wednesday, a British court sentenced him to 50 weeks in jail. Hearings on Assange’s extradition to the US, where he is wanted on a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in relation to his work with whistleblower Chelsea Manning, were adjourned until May 30. During Thursday’s hearing Assange refused to consent to extradition by saying that he refuses to “surrender” for “doing journalism.”
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