WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is living a “haunted life” fearing arrest and has been on the run following the release of nearly four lakh secret U.S. military documents related to the Iraq war on his whistleblower website.
Mr. Assange (39) checks into hotels under false names, dyes his hair, sleeps on sofas and floors, and uses cash instead of credit cards, often borrowed from friends, said The New York Times, which has interviewed him.
“They called me the James Bond of journalism...it got me a lot of fans, and some of them ended up causing me a bit of trouble,” he was quoted as saying, expressing concern that U.K. may act against him if he U.S. decides to prosecute him — an option that is currently being explored.
“By being determined to be on this path, and not to compromise, I've wound up in an extraordinary situation,” said Mr. Assange.
“When it comes to the point where you occasionally look forward to being in prison on the basis that you might be able to spend a day reading a book, the realisation dawns that perhaps the situation has become a little more stressful than you would like.”
On the run again, Mr. Assange left Stockholm for Berlin and now is in London, according to the Times, which reported that his bag and three encysted laptops disappeared on the journey from Sweden to Germany.
The WikiLeaks founder also faces rape and molestation accusations by two women in Sweden, where he went to stay due to the country's strong laws protecting freedom of speech and expression. Mr. Assange, however, has maintained their relations were consensual and blamed a “smear campaign”, possibly planned by the U.S. government. — PTI