• Sweden's news in English

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

Oliver Gee · 18 Aug 2014, 11:03

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
  • 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". 
Story continues below…
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 news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Gothenburg 'one of Europe's most segregated cities'
An Isis flag in Kirkuk, Iraq. Photo: Uncredited/AP

One in ten school students in Gothenburg's north-eastern suburbs sympathize with religious extremist organizations, according to a survey.

Julian Assange
Sweden won't suspend Assange warrant for funeral
Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

The WikiLeaks founder has requested a temporary suspension of an arrest warrant so he could leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the funeral of his mentor.

Swedish football diehard who went viral doesn't get the fuss
Possibly the most dedicated fan in the world. Photo: Patric Söderström/TT

A picture of Gefle IF celebrating with the only fan to make a 1164km round trip to see them has gone viral. The Local spoke to the diehard in question.

'I want to see women priests in the Catholic Church'
Archbishop Antje Jackelén meeting Pope Francis earlier in 2016. Photo: L'Osservatore Romano/AP

'I told the pope last year during a speech it is time to no longer speak for women about women, but to speak with women,' Sweden's Archbishop says.

Sweden one of world's easiest places to do business: report
A meeting at a Stockholm office. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

It is easier to do business in Sweden now than it was last year, according to a World Bank report.

This Swede has built a procrastinator's dream
Anders Åberg has built a website that allows you to hear what’s going on above the Earth. Photo: Personal & NASA

Ever wondered what's going on in the sky above the earth and in space? Now you can hear for yourself.

Presented by Malmö Tourism
Seven reasons why Malmö is the football capital of Sweden
Players from FC Rosengård, Sweden's most successful women's football team. Photo: Hangsna

It’s official, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.

Fake police car driver seized after confronting real police
File photo of a police car. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Three men in a fake police car were left red-faced after they tried to stop a man in southern Sweden who turned out to be an off-duty officer.

This tiny bird can fly for ten months straight: scientists
The common swift while not in flight. Photo: Madis Veskimeister/Wikimedia

Swedish scientists have found that this bird stays in the air for almost a year without landing.

Why the Pope is visiting Sweden next week
Pope Francis in the Vatican. Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Pope to nail reconciliation agenda to Lutherans' door in southern Sweden.

Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available