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I'm leaving the Ecuador embassy soon, says Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

Monday, 18 August 2014 - 2:11pm IST Updated: Monday, 18 August 2014 - 3:30pm IST | Agency: dna webdesk

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, marked his two year asylum at the Ecuador Embassy in London with a press conference along with Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino.

Addressing the press, Assange announced that he will be leaving the embassy soon. While he did not specify how soon he plans to leave the embassy Assange said that "it will not be for reasons the Murdoch press and Sky News" believe.

His spokesman later told reporters that he could only do so if the British government "calls off the siege outside". Assange had no intention of handing himself over to the police, the spokesman said.

Assange also said that the charges of rape and molestation against him in Sweden were falsely reported. 

Britain has repeatedly said it won't back down, that its laws must be followed, and that Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he denies. Assange would be arrested if he exited the building because he has breached his British bail terms. 

The 43-year-old Australian says he fears that if Britain extradited him to Sweden he would then be extradited to the United States where he could be tried for one of the largest information leaks in US history

"Two years is simply too long. It is time to free Assange, it is time for his human rights to be respected," said Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino. He said that he hoped to speak to the UK Foreign Secretary in the coming weeks on how to deal with the situation.

Patino urged the international community to coordinate such that Assange's human rights are respected.

The announcement comes amidst reports that Assange is suffering from a heart condition. However Assange has said that he is not leaving the embassy due to health reasons. 

Britain's Sky News, part owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, reported that Assange had developed a life threatening heart defect and a chronic lung condition during his years confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in southwest London but was unable to seek hospital treatment for fear of being arrested. 

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

 

 

Assange, whose website WikiLeaks published classified US military and diplomatic documents, has been living inside the Ecuadorian embassy building here, since being granted diplomatic asylum by the Ecuador in August 2012.

 

With agency inputs.




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