• 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
Pirate Bay back online seven weeks after raid
The Pirate Bay's homepage on Saturday. Photo: Screen grab

Pirate Bay back online seven weeks after raid

Sweden’s seeming unquashable file-sharing site The Pirate Bay is back online, seven weeks after police seized servers hosted at a data centre in a nuclear-proof bunker deep in a mountain outside Stockholm. READ  

Roma denied sleep complain of 'torture'
The banner erected by the Roma at Sorgenfri Folketshus. Photo: Solidarity with EU migrants

Roma denied sleep complain of 'torture'

A group of Roma immigrants have complained of “torture” and “terrorism” after security guards at a Malmö night café for homeless people refused to let them sleep on the premises. READ  

Israel 'not happy' at Abbas invite to Sweden
US Secretary of State meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, in November 2014. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/TT

Israel 'not happy' at Abbas invite to Sweden

Israel’s ambassador has sharply criticised Sweden for inviting President Mahmoud Abbas to Stockholm next month, citing it as further evidence of the “energetic pro-Palestinian line” the country’s government has taken since coming to power after September's election. READ  

Beggars 'objectified' at Malmö exhibition
Roma migrants who have swapped the streets for an art gallery. Photo: Albin Balthasar

Beggars 'objectified' at Malmö exhibition

Two Roma beggars have been paid to take part in a controversial art installation that has seen them sitting and standing in silence with a paper cup in front of them in a Malmö art gallery. READ  

More open borders for Swedish nationals
An SAS plane taking off from Sweden. Photo: TT

More open borders for Swedish nationals

From this summer, Swedes may be be able to leave their passports at home when travelling to the UK and other non-Schengen countries within the EU. READ  

Thick snow set to cause further travel chaos
A sign warns about falling snow and ice in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Thick snow set to cause further travel chaos

UPDATED: Heavy snowfall has caused major traffic problems in parts of western and southern Sweden, with further bad weather set to sweep across the country this weekend. READ  

Presented by Verksamt.se
'Immigration is critical' for Stockholm’s future
The city of Stockholm. Photo: Björn Olin/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

'Immigration is critical' for Stockholm’s future

Stockholm’s business community gathered on Friday to discuss the future of the city’s labour market. While housing and education were mentioned, it was another theme that reigned supreme. READ  

Jay-Z seeks Swedish music service takeover
Rapper Jay-Z at an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on January 16th 2015. Photo: TT

Jay-Z seeks Swedish music service takeover

Project Panther, an enterprise linked to American hip hop artist Shawn Carter - better known as Jay-Z- is expected to take over Scandinavian-based digital music firm Aspiro, one of Spotify's biggest rivals. READ  

Spotify mute about fresh funding rumours
Spotify is the world's largest online music streaming service. Photo: TT

Spotify mute about fresh funding rumours

Swedish music streaming giant Spotify has declined to comment on reports that it is raising new funds that could delay a public listing. READ  

Swedish troops join Somali pirate mission
A Somali pirate near Hobyo, Somalia in 2012. Photo: TT

Swedish troops join Somali pirate mission

Around 70 Swedish soldiers are heading to east Africa as part of EU efforts to prevent attacks from Somali pirates. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What’s on in Sweden this week
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Gallery
IN PICTURES: European Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm
National
The return of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Lifestyle
Top five trends from Stockholm Fashion Week
Blog updates

30 January

Editor’s blog, January 30th (The Local Sweden) »

"Greetings from Sweden where much of the country is heading for what could be the coldest..." READ »

 

26 January

The mysterious -s, part 1 (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! How is your Swedish coming along? A while ago I read on a forum on The..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: January 28th
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
National
Does Sweden help returning Isis fighters more than Swedish veterans?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: January snow snaps
Society
Is Sweden's healthcare system a national embarassment?
Gallery
Property of the week: Skanör, Vellinge
Lifestyle
'Life as a Swedish candy-maker is sweet'
National
Why Sweden's Left party wants a European 'Red Spring'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's hottest new fashion designers for 2015
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Who travels on Stockholm's different subway lines?
Lifestyle
Why this Swedish baby is a US hit
Lifestyle
'Limousine' snowplough for sale
People-watching: January 24th - 25th
Gallery
People-watching: January 24th - 25th
Society
Meet the 'beggars' buttoning up immigration critics
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years
Features
Learn Sweden's bizarre dating lingo
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Gallery
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Society
Why Sweden's viral 'genital' video is getting an English remake
National
Why does Sweden's Luleå have a giant ice beaver?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Who are Sweden's richest one percent?
Business & Money
How a classic Swedish snack got a revamp for 'busy' Stockholmers
Lifestyle
The Local's top Swedish acts for 2015
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Årets Bild photography prize winners
Business & Money
'I met my Swedish man in Tokyo's first Ikea store'
Gallery
Property of the week: A cozy apartment in Bromma, Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: January 17th - 18th
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish gravad lax
Lifestyle
Four hot Swedish home design trends
National
How The Local's video on a strange Swedish sound went viral
Gallery
People-watching: January 14th
National
The Local's guide to Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Politics
Paris attacks: Knock-on effects in Sweden and across Europe
National
Swedish Muslims react to new Charlie Hebdo magazine
National
The Local talks to Sweden's Home Affairs Minister about Paris attacks
Business & Money
Will Spotify launch on stock market after users rocket?
Accelerated
Texans and Swedes to play ice instruments
Gallery
Property of the week: An 18th century mansion in Stockholm
Business & Money
'Snowboarding drew me to work in chilly Sweden'
National
Are Sweden's royals moving to London?
Sponsored Article
Everything you need to know about moving to Stockholm
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

1,092
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
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options