• Sweden's news in English
 

Assange: 'I'll leave the Ecuador embassy soon'

Published: 18 Aug 2014 09:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Aug 2014 11:03 GMT+02:00

  • Assange tells reporters he plans to leave embassy "soon"
  • Reported to be in poor health and needing hospital
  • Has been holed up in Ecuadorian embassy for two years
  • Wanted in Sweden over rape allegations

From the press conference

The Ecuadorian foreign minister began Monday's press conference on Monday by stating that Assange should be released.

"It's time to free Julian Assange, it's time for his human rights to be respected," he told reporters.

When the Australian WikiLeaks founder took to the microphone, he stressed that he still has not been charged over the rape allegations from Sweden. 

"It has now been two years since I was granted political asylum in this embassy," he said. 
 
"Through all that time, I have not been charged with an offence in England nor in Sweden."
 
He added that the women in Sweden have still never officially accused him of rape, rather that they had "explicitly denied it".

When the microphone was turned over to reporters, Assange was immediately probed about his health. The 43-year-old danced around the question, saying that he "would be leaving the embassy soon". He refused to comment further. 
 
When accused of being "deliberately obscure" he elaborated on his health, but not what he meant by "leaving soon".
 
He said that in his life without sunlight, "at a cost of more than £6.5 million pounds", he is stuck in "an environment in which any healthy person would find themselves soon enough with certain difficulties".
 
As to how he plans to leave the embassy "soon", reporters and commentators have been left bamboozled. The press meet appeared to have raised more questions than it answered.
 
 
Speculation about hand over to police

Following two years in the Ecuadorian embassy, British media reported that the Australian would hand himself over to police on Monday. 

The Daily Mail newspaper, which sent a reporter to meet Assange, reported over the weekend that the WikiLeaks founder was suffering from a potentially life-threatening heart condition and "dangerously high blood pressure", as well as a "chronic lung complaint". 
 
The fact that Assange has been inside for two years means he's lacking in Vitamin D, which means a risk of asthma, diabetes, and even dementia, the paper added.
 
Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, also voiced concerns about how officials were treating both Assange and his case.

Patino accused the British government of violating Assange's human rights, during an interview published by The Guardian newspaper on Sunday.

"We have made proposals, we have submitted documents, and all we have seen on the part of the British government is an increase in security to make sure Julian Assange does not leave the embassy, but there has been no political will or any steps taken towards a diplomatic solution to this," he told the paper.

"Everyone around the world knows that the rights of Julian Assange have been violated."

Assange has been in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual molestation - which Assange has denied.

The 43-year-old fears that being sent to Sweden would be a pretext for transferring him to the United States, where WikiLeaks sparked an uproar with its publication of thousands of secret documents.
 

For more stories about Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
‘A tremendous boon for travel’: US ambassador
Customs formalities for travellers to the US will be taken care of at Arlanta in the future. Photo: Shutterstock

‘A tremendous boon for travel’: US ambassador

The planned preclearance facility at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport is meant to improve the overall travel experience and boost security. It’s a win-win, says Mark Brzezinski, the US ambassador to Sweden, in this editorial for The Local. READ  

Lonely Planet goofs on new Stockholm guide
Lonely Planet put Uppsala's Fyris River on the cover of its Stockholm guide. Photo: Shutterstock

Lonely Planet goofs on new Stockholm guide

People equipped with the new Stockholm guide by Lonely Planet, the largest travel guidebook publisher in the world, might have a hard time finding the scene depicted on the cover. That’s because it’s a picture from Uppsala. READ  

Stockholm airport to get fast lane into US
Photo: TT

Stockholm airport to get fast lane into US

Travelers from Stockholm will have an easier time entering the US in the future. The US has decided to make Arlanda a “preclearance” airport, meaning customs procedures will take place on Swedish soil. READ  

Swedish broadcaster sends porn to children
A child with a mobile device. Photo: Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se

Swedish broadcaster sends porn to children

Sweden's tax-funded public broadcaster SVT has apologized to parents after it accidentally sent an SMS to 60 children which included a link to a pornographic site. READ  

The Local List
Are these the five worst places to live in Sweden?
Högsby has been named as the worst place to live in Sweden. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Are these the five worst places to live in Sweden?

Sweden is a great place to be, from its vibrant capital to cute, picturesque towns in the countryside. But even within this Nordic paradise, there are some real dumps. Here's our guide to the five municipalities that ended up at the bottom of an annual ranking of places to live in Sweden. READ  

Swedish dads told to take more paternity leave
A Swedish Dad with his children. Photo: Carolina Romara/Image Bank Sweden

Swedish dads told to take more paternity leave

UPDATED: Plans to introduce a third month of paid parental leave reserved for fathers are set to be introduced in 2016, the Swedish government has revealed, in a bid to further increase gender equality. READ  

Spring boost for Swedish economy revealed
Shoppers in Stockholm. Photo: Simon Paulin/TT

Spring boost for Swedish economy revealed

Sweden's economy grew by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2015, and was up 2.5 percent on the same period a year ago, according to figures released on Friday. But Swedes still appear to be holding back from swiping their cards at the nation's tills. READ  

Royal Wedding
Six facts about Europe's hottest power couple
Sofia Hellqvist and Prince Carl Philip announcing their engagement in 2014. Photo: TT

Six facts about Europe's hottest power couple

Move over William and Kate, Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and fiancée Sofia Hellqvist are causing an international stir ahead of their upcoming wedding with one Australian paper even calling them 'Europe's coolest couple'. Here are six facts you need to learn about these rocking royals. READ  

Real-life police drama on Sweden's 'The Bridge'
The Öresund bridge between Sweden and Denmark. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Real-life police drama on Sweden's 'The Bridge'

Something resembling an episode of the popular gritty crime drama 'The Bridge' (Bron) occurred on Thursday night when Swedish and Danish police engaged in a car chase that ended with the arrest of four men. READ  

Swedish firm wins huge New York airport bid
Travellers at New York's LaGuardia Airport in January 2015. Photo: TT

Swedish firm wins huge New York airport bid

A consortium led by Swedish construction company Skanska has been picked for a $3.6 billion (30.5 billion kronor) project to modernize New York's LaGuardia Airport, regional transport officials have announced. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Five unmissable events in Sweden
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: Nine questions every expat should ask
Business & Money
Sweden drops in leading global business rankings
Sponsored Article
Why expat women are choosing Swedish natural birth control
National
Royal princess couple to quit Stockholm for UK
Blog updates

29 May

Editor’s blog, May 29th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Sweden has spent the week celebrating stealing the Eurovision crown (again), with even our most..." READ »

 

26 May

Vet, kan, känner eller känner till? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It happens every now and then that my students mix up the words “vet”, “kan”, “känner”..." READ »

 
 
 
Business & Money
What to ask before buying your first home in Sweden
Sponsored Article
'No one tells expats about unemployment benefits'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: People-watching: May 17th
Sport
Fake quotes in Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Swedish memoirs
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Your May sun snaps
Education
Does Sweden mark down foreigners' children?
Sponsored Article
What it's like to be a student in Malmö
National
Russian veterans' Nazi attack on Ikea
Gallery
Property of the week: Lugnvik, Östersund
National
Avicii confirms royal wedding DJ gig
Sponsored Article
Kristin Amparo: 'Swedes are afraid to be proud'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw through the years
Gallery
People-watching: May 22nd-23rd
National
Why are Sweden's beaches among the worst in Europe?
National
VIDEO: Can you get your tongue around Sweden's word for 'nurse'?
National
How two million Swedes are designing a 'house of clicks'
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Five facts you need to know about Sweden's Eurovision entry
National
Why do one in three Swedes want to join Nato?
Features
What to do in Stockholm this summer
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th
National
How Sweden and Saudi Arabia got back on speaking term after row
Gallery
Property of the week: Västra hamnen, Malmö
Sponsored Article
'There is no such thing as Swedish values'
National
Why is support for the Sweden Democrats at a record high?
Sponsored Article
ConnectSweden: Examining Sweden's place in the world
Gallery
People-watching: May 15th - 17th
National
VIDEO: Swedish man's roar scares off charging bear
National
'Gang conflict' linked to latest Gothenburg attack
National
RECIPE: How to make Panna cotta with cloudberry jam
Sponsored Article
'Educated immigrants get stuck in limbo in Sweden'
National
Sweden backs migrant sharing plan
National
Swedish boozing on the rise
National
Why Sweden's deputy PM was forced to apologize for Auschwitz analogy
National
End of the road for Julian Assange's arrest appeal?
Features
Booked to go to one of Sweden's sizzling music festivals yet?
National
Meet the Swedish boy who used to be a girl
Sponsored Article
How to change the world: Malmö to Mogadishu
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Estelle through the years
National
Why is obesity ballooning in Sweden?
National
VIDEO: The bizarre Swedish nurses song that's gone viral
National
Ecuador stray dog Arthur in Swedish charity race
National
UK expert: 'Sweden's current military state is alarming'
National
Elfdalian: a real language spoken in central Sweden in 2015
National
Is King's love for house tracks behind new military music?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hjortnäs, Leksand
National
Sex-crazed grouse terrorizes Swedes
Sponsored Article
'Never waste a good crisis'
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,279
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se