Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange may soon be freed from his home of five-and-a-half years, the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, after his lawyers requested a court drop an arrest warrant for him.
Mr Assange’s lawyers asked a London court on Friday to drop the arrest warrant for the 46-year-old after he skipped bail in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape, which he denies.
The Swedish investigation into the rape claims against Mr Assange was dropped in May last year, but British police said he was still wanted in the United Kingdom for skipping bail.
Mr Assange’s lawyer Mark Summers QC told chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot at the Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday the warrant had “lost its purpose and its function”.
Westminster Magistrates Court is expected to make a decision over whether to drop the warrant on February 6.
Despite many considering his stay at the embassy to be forced captivity, the “freedom fighter” has seemingly been content living a life of exile, observing the bustling world through the sheer white curtain of his embassy window, or from the glare of one of his four laptop screens.
“The outside world doesn’t exist to me,” Mr Assange told WHO magazine in July 2013. “I have no interaction with it.”
WHO magazine described a comfortable existence in exile for the Australian whistle-blower, who has enjoyed the entire first floor of the Ecuadorian Embassy and lunch five days a week, including restaurant sushi, while leaking classified material.
Andrew O’Hagan, who was asked to ghost-write a memoir of Mr Assange, told Vox he had been repelled by the visionary’s table manners in an essay about Mr Assange in his book, The Secret Life: Three True Stories.
“He eats with his hands. He licks his plate. He lets other people make his meals, and – far from washing the dishes – never so much as takes his dirty stuff to the sink,” Mr O’Hagan writes.
The internet hacker’s refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy features a maroon leather couch near a fireplace with a mantelpiece displaying two goldfish in a small aquarium, while a glass-fronted cabinet displays a collection of gifts from his friends and fans to subdue homesickness, including Barossa wine, Tasmanian honey, Vegemite and books.
When concerned about too much time indoors, he uses a sun lamp to keep his Vitamin D levels up and spars with his friend Ben Griffin, a British SAS officer, for exercise.
The room does not contain a bed, but Mr Assange convinced staff to renovate a women’s bathroom to create a quiet room for him to sleep in.
“I couldn’t sleep because of Harrods [department store] loading bay and the cops always doing shift changes outside,” Mr Assange told WHO.
“And the quietest room is the women’s bathroom, the only room that’s easy to sleep in. So I thought I’d try and somehow get hold of it and renovate it.
“Eventually, somewhat reluctantly, the staff relented.”
Mr Assange has also avoided loneliness, with assistants manning four laptops from the Ecuadorian Embassy and regular visitors, including singer Lady Gaga, actor John Cusack, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and artist Yoko Ono.
Former Baywatch pin-up and Playboy model Pamela Anderson, who has vehemently defended Mr Assange in the press, has also regularly brought him lunch.
“We talk about everything, I always make sure he’s OK, make sure he’s exercising, make sure he’s eating well,” Ms Anderson told BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire program on Tuesday.