The British government has been accused of spying on WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange by installing CCTV cameras at the countryhouse in Norfolk where he lives under strict bail conditions described by his lawyers as “excessive and dehumanising'' .
Mr. Assange, who is fighting extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault, is already fitted with an electronic tag to track his movements and is required to report regularly to the local police station.
The spying allegation is made in a five-minute video, “House Arrest'', released by WikiLeaks to mark his six months on bail. His team claims that there are three cameras — all installed since he moved into the property in mid-December last year — to watch who enters and leaves the house.
Sarah Harrison, member of the WikiLeaks' team, is seen pointing to a camera and saying: “This is one of the three cameras that is outside each entrance of the property. We suddenly noticed them appearing since we have been here. We believe they are monitoring everything that goes in and out of the property.”
Joseph Farrell, another team member, says: “He has kept to his bail conditions for six months now impeccably. His passport has been confiscated. Is all this necessary — or is it excessive?”
Local police claimed the cameras were not theirs.
A spokesman for Norfolk Constabulary said: “No one is aware of any cameras being there.”
The video (available at telegraph.co.uk/news) shows one of the cameras at the entrance to the house, known as Ellingham Hall.
Vaughan Smith, who owns the property, expressed surprise.
“I am not an expert on cameras but I believe that these take number plates and report number plates. I think the country is full of them but I don't know why I need quite so many of them around my house.”
Civil rights campaigners called for cameras to be removed.