"Embassy cat" has not been in the Ecuadorean mission's building since September 2018, according to a spokesperson.
After Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s arrest on Thursday, questions about his cat, James, who accompanied him for over two years throughout his confinement in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, quickly arose.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged with "computer hacking conspiracy" in the United States, the country's justice department said Thursday, hours after he was arrested by British police, putting an end to his asylum as a political refugee after seven years.
The pet was not with him when he was arrested.
"It has not been here since September, I think. It was taken by Mr. Assange’s associates a long ago… It is not here. We are not a pet store, so we do not keep pets here," an embassy spokesperson said to Sputnik agency.
James, or Embassy Cat, as it was known for its social media accounts, was with Assange since May 2016 to help him bare the confinement, which several human rights institutions denounced as inhuman since he was prohibited from going outside and seeing the sun as normal prisoners have a right to.
Also in 2018, the United Nations formally ruled Assange’s detention to be arbitrary, a violation of human rights.
“At least the cat was saved. It was taken away and handed to someone, I don’t know if to a friend, but it was taken out of the Embassy weeks ago,” Assange’s Lawyer Carlos Poveda told Ecuadorean newspaper El Telegrafo while he was also explaining the difference between Wikileaks founder doing journalism and what hacking is to some local journalists.