Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has been hiding out in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the past six years, has been given a new set of house rules if he wants to continue his stay. In a memo first published on Ecuadorian website Código Vidrio and obtained by The Guardian, conditions for his stay were contingent on his ability to stay out of activity “considered as political or interfering with the internal affairs of other states.” It also outlines basic housekeeping rules, like cleaning his own bathroom and taking care of his pet cat.
Not much is known about where this cat came from; it was reported in his New Yorker profile that the story about the cat being a gift from his children was a lie. All we know is that Assange likes to dress the cat up in neckties and he has given the cat its own Twitter and Instagram accounts. However, in a tragic twist, he hasn’t been able to update them since his internet was taken away in March for violating his agreement with Ecuador not to meddle in other countries’ affairs.
The document also states that the Ecuadorian Embassy would not pay for his food, laundry, or any part of his stay starting in December. If he fails to take care of the cat’s “well-being, food and hygiene,” it’ll be taken away and given to someone else. The memo states that Assange’s internet ban is being lifted partially now, and he’ll be able to start using his own phone and computer with access to the embassy’s Wi-Fi. But if this brings about any more political interference and he pisses off the Ecuadorian government again, it “could lead to the termination of the diplomatic asylum.”
The cat’s name is Michi (which Assange says is “Ecuadorian for ‘cat’”, though Ecuadorian isn’t a language), but it usually just goes by the nickname EmbassyCat. The cat is a central part of PR for Assange, who uses it for everything from garnering sympathy to slapping its face across WikiLeaks merch. Below is an EmbassyCat-branded mousepad sold on the WikiLeaks shop that reads, “I live in the Ecuadorian embassy with Julian Assange : Interested in counter-purrveilance.”
Assange has not been able to read the memo as of Monday, as it hadn’t been translated from Spanish, and he did not yet have access to the internet. However, we’ll probably know when he’s back online when he decides to update the petstagrams.