Hidden microphone discovered in Ecuador's London embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is sheltering
Ricardo Patino discovered hidden device in June
The Ecuadorean Embassy has discovered a hidden microphone inside its building where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is sheltering from extradition to Sweden.
Politician Ricardo Patino said the microphone was found inside the office of the Ecuadorean ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ana Alban. It was found during a visit made by Patino to the embassy to meet with Assange on 16 June.
"We have found a hidden microphone in the London embassy," said Patino. "I did not bring this up before because I didn't want my visit to London to hold talks on Julian Assange to be confused with accusations over this surveillance device found in the ambassador's office."
The Foreign Office in London declined to comment immediately on the allegation and Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said he did not comment on security issues.
Assange has been living inside the embassy for more than a year to avoid extradition to Sweden where he faces allegations by two women of sexual assault. He denies this allegation.
If sent to Sweden he fears he would then be extradited from there to the United States to face potential charges over the release of thousands of confidential US documents on WikiLeaks.
Wikileaks are attempting to assist Snowden, who is believed to be stranded at a Moscow airport and is seeking asylum in over 20 countries including Ecuador.
“We regret to inform you that in our embassy in London we have found a hidden microphone,” Patino told a news conference in Quito on Tuesday.
“I didn't denounce this at the time because we didn't want the theme of our visit to London to be confused with this matter,” said Patino, who met during his time in London with British Foreign Secretary William Hague to discuss Assange.
“Furthermore, we first wanted to ascertain with precision what could be the origin of this interception device in the office of our ambassador,” he was quoted by the Press Association as saying.
“We are sorry to say so, but this is another instance of a loss of ethics at the international level in relations between governments,” he added.
The microphone was discovered in a different room to the one Assange currently lives in.
Ecuador's protection of Assange has strained their relations with Britain. The Foreign Office said after the meeting between Hague and Patino on 17 June that no substantive progress had been made to break the legal and diplomatic deadlock.
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