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Assange 'to leave Ecuadorian Embassy soon'

Yahoo7 News and Agencies August 19, 2014, 6:29 am


Assange to leave Ecuadorian Embassy soon (AU COPY)Assange 'to leave Ecuadorian Embassy soon' (AU COPY)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he will "soon" leave Ecuador's embassy in London, where he has been holed up for two years to avoid extradition.

Police have been stationed at the compound since Mr Assange requested political asylum from Ecuador in June 2012, ready to arrest him if he sets foot outside.

The 43-year-old Australian, who is reportedly suffering from heart and lung problems, gave a press conference on Monday evening amid speculation he was set to hand himself over.

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Asked about media reports he was due to quit the embassy, Mr Assange said: "I can confirm that I am leaving the embassy soon, but perhaps not for the the reasons that the Murdoch press and Sky News are saying at the moment."

He gave no further details, but immediately after the press conference, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson made clear Assange wasn't about to walk outside and into the arms of the waiting British police.

"The world is not coming to an end," Mr Hrafnsson said.

"What Julian meant is that his plan is to leave as soon as the British government honours its commitment."

Asked about his health, Mr Assange said anyone would be affected by spending two years in a building with no outside areas or direct sunlight.

Swedish prosecutors want to question Mr Assange over sexual assault allegations made by two female former WikiLeaks volunteers.

Mr Assange denies the allegations and has been fighting a legal battle against extradition since his arrest in Britain in 2010.
Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, left, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speak during a press conference inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he confirmed he "will be leaving the embassy soon". Photo: AP
"Through all that time, nearly four years, I have not been charged with an offence... and there has been no public indictment," said Mr Assange, flanked by Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patino.

"How can it be that such a situation in Europe arises where a person is held and their freedom of movement is restricted and they are kept from their family while a foreign government, the United States, builds an ever larger case against that person and their organisation?"


'Two years is simply too long'


Mr Assange fears Sweden could in turn extradite him to the United States to be tried for one of the largest leaks of classified information in US history.

"First of all, I have not been charged with an offence here in the United Kingdom or in Sweden at any time," he said.

"Secondly, the basis under which my asylum was granted is the ongoing US investigation into me and WikiLeaks."

Mr Patino did not mention a plan for Mr Assange to leave the embassy but called for the governments involved in his case to take action.

"The situation must come to an end - two years is simply too long," he said.

"We continue to offer him our protection ... we continue to be ready to talk with the British government and the Swedish government to find a solution to this serious breach of Julian Assange's human rights."
Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hold a vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to mark his two years in refuge at the embassy, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Photo: AP
WikiLeaks spokesman Gerry Georgatos says he expects Mr Assange will be a free man when he leaves the embassy.

"If it means that he needs to walk out and create a confrontation and be escorted to Ecuador - where he's got asylum, where he's got that right to asylum which is his basic human right - this is what will actually unfold," he said.

"It can't be that he will remain in there for six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years. Things have come to a head."

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says Australian officials "have previously provided consular assistance to Mr Assange, but he has not requested any such assistance for some time".

"If Mr Assange seeks consular assistance, the Government will extend an appropriate level of service according to the circumstances, but that assistance will not extend to intervening in UK or Swedish legal processes," the spokesperson said.

Earlier this year the law was changed to bar extradition if there's no prosecution decision in the requesting territory.

Assange hasn't been charged in Sweden but the changes to the British extradition laws aren't retrospective so don't apply in his case.

"(Nevertheless) the British parliament and the legal community has seen the abuses of my rights and the rights of many other Britons who have been extradited without charge," the former computer hacker said.

"That has led to a package of law reforms which came into force last month.

"So I am thankful that the United Kingdom is standing up for the values of due process."

Mr Patino on Monday said he'd try and set up a meeting with the UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in the coming weeks to discuss the issue.

"We believe that the recent reforms do create a better climate for us to reach an agreement," the Ecuadorean minister said.

"The situation must come to an end. It is time to free Julian Assange. It is time for his human rights to finally be respected."

A Swedish court in mid-July upheld an arrest warrant against Assange for alleged sexual assault.

Assange also believes, however, that the United States has likely already issued a sealed extradition order meaning if he left the embassy he could be arrested by British police and taken to the US to face charges over WikiLeaks' release of classified documents.

Assange told Mr Patino 12 months ago that he was strong enough to remain in the embassy for five years rather than face legal proceedings in the US.

It's estimated the cost of British police maintaining a 24-hour watch outside the embassy has passed STG7 million ($A12.78 million).

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24745624/assange-to-leave-ecuadorian-embassy-soon/

Hope he is doing ok, this champion for human freedom of speech.
 

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Lucky Julian is not holding up in a Embassy here in Australia...We can't have champions of free speech in this country...Australia worries more about hurting someone’s feelings...poor diddums...
 

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"I can confirm that I am leaving the embassy soon, but perhaps not for the the reasons that the Murdoch press and Sky News are saying at the moment."

So what do you think the likely reason for him leaving will be, anyone?

Health, had enough, a deal has been made for him to go to Ecuador freely.
 

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"I can confirm that I am leaving the embassy soon, but perhaps not for the the reasons that the Murdoch press and Sky News are saying at the moment."

So what do you think the likely reason for him leaving will be, anyone?

Health, had enough, a deal has been made for him to go to Ecuador freely.
There was talk that he has health issues and a request to be allowed to leave the Embassy so he can travel to Ecuador was refused.
 

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Is he in the hallway now...nearer the front door ? Just curious?...and coming on winter and all...hope he has a coat and scarf ? Even if they will now be terribly out of fashion. He has a dilemma...
 
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