WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said that he will be soon leaving the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. He made this statement without providing any further details. Assange was given asylum in the embassy in London two years ago.
Assange was accompanied by the Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño in a news conference where he said that he has contributed in bringing the much needed change in the British extradition system. He also said that he is also facing some health issues after two years at the embassy.
Assange was granted extradition to Sweden, which is carrying out investigation related to sexual misconduct. The British police has been providing a 24-hour guard at the embassy at a total cost that has so far reached at least USD10 million. Assange said that he is not counted with any criminal charges and fears that he will be extradited to the United States if he leaves the embassy.
The British news media, especially Sky News, published several reports before the news conference that Assange would be soon leaving the embassy in order to conduct his medical treatment. The news reports also said that he is suffering from several medical conditions including arrhythmia, very high blood pressure and a chronic lung problem. However, Assange said that he will leave the embassy soon but for the different reason.
Meanwhile, Patiño said that his country is willing to seek a negotiated legal end to the standoff. He was quoted saying that “two years of great uncertainty and lack of legal protection for everyone. The situation must come to an end. Two years have been definitely too long. It is time to free Julian Assange. It is time for his human rights to be respected.”
Kristinn Hrafnsson, a spokesman for WikiLeaks, has cleared that Assange will only leave Britain if authorities promise him the safe passage.