Assange is well - but in need of fresh vegetables, says Westwood

 

Dame Vivienne Westwood has ended speculation about the ill health of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, following her visit to him at the Ecuadorian embassy last week.

Speaking to The Independent on Sunday, the punk fashion designer said that Assange looked well when she met him on Tuesday night, with his worst ailment appearing to be a need for fresh vegetables. The news comes as his bail sureties struggle to gather funds for payment in time for a court deadline in 10 days' time.

Assange, who has been granted political asylum by the government of Ecuador, is seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over claims of sex offences. He fears being handed over to the United States over the activities of his whistleblowing website. Westwood's assurances on Assange's well-being come after Ecuadorian Vice foreign minister Marco Albuja Martinez told Russian reporters on Tuesday that Assange had "grown noticeably thinner", and that they were "very concerned about his health".

Westwood said: "When I went to see him I realised the best thing I can do is get people to bring lots of raw vegetables that he can grate up and eat. I took him some booze and he said 'that's what everyone brings me, but what I'd really like is an apple or something'. He's eating those dreadful microwave meals. I took him a bottle of red wine because that's my favourite."

Ecuador has asked the British Foreign Office for a document that would enable Assange to enter hospital safely if necessary and return to the embassy with refugee status. Westwood said: "He's well and I think the embassy is just being sensible. They want to know what they would do if anything goes wrong with his health."

Dame Vivienne described Assange as a "real hero," adding: "He's a very brave man. He's a noble adventure figure like Robin Hood."

Since Assange skipped his bail terms and sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy, those who provided sureties are now having to pay up. Following a negotiation over the "exceptional case", the amounts demanded have been reduced, but Assange's high-profile backers still have to pay £93,500 within the next 10 days or face jail.

Sarah Saunders, a chef whose East Sussex cottage Assange shared in the latter part of his house-arrest, says she will have to empty out her savings to pay the £12,000. "It's all my savings. My children are all grown up but it does have an effect on what I can do for the rest of my life."

Saunders says she has been ordering Assange to improve his nutrition. "I'm worried about his health. Living in such a confined space without fresh air is worrying and he does look pale. I've organised for some high nutrition food and given him some recipes."

Vaughan Smith, who owns the Norfolk manor house where Assange originally stayed, will have to pay £12,000. Though significantly less than the £20,000 he pledged, the request for money has still come as a shock. He said: "It's not money I have in the bank - I'll have to borrow it. We will clearly feel it. Over the summer because of the Olympics we didn't get the trade in the restaurant and then farming hasn't been doing very well because of the weather, so my situation isn't as good as it might have been."

"It feels pretty unfair because the situation is political - everyone knows where he is. I don't think we could've predicted what happened - we made a risk assessment based on the fact that he didn't have a passport and was highly recognisable," he said.

Philip Knightly, an investigative journalist who outed the spy Kim Philby, now owes £15,000. He said: "I know that some of us are going to find it difficult. People will have to cut expenses in other areas, but I don't think it's going to bankrupt anybody."

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game