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Assange announces he plans to abandon the Ecuadorean embassy 'soon'

Tuesday, August 19th 2014 - 08:31 UTC
Full article 33 comments
The Australian hacker has been living at the embassy for two years The Australian hacker has been living at the embassy for two years

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent over two years inside Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, said on Monday he planned to leave the building “soon”, but his spokesman said that could only happen if Britain let him.

 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.

Assange's comments briefly raised the possibility of him leaving the embassy, somewhere he has been holed up since June 2012. But 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.

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.

“I am leaving the embassy soon [...] but perhaps not for the reasons that Murdoch press and Sky news are saying at the moment,” Assange told reporters at the embassy in central London, before refusing to clarify his comments.

Britain's Sky News, part owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, had earlier reported that Assange was considering leaving the embassy due to deteriorating health.

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • Redrow

    A complete non-story as it turned out. He was announcing to leave only if Britain changed its mind, which it won't - he either goes to Sweden (because we have the rule of law in Britain and all his legal options have been exhausted) or he stays where he is. So he called a press conference to announce nothing at all. What sort of person would do that? ...... Yes that was a rhetorical question.

    Aug 19th, 2014 - 08:44 am 0
  • LEPRecon

    I reckon the Ecuadorians are getting fed up of footing his bill. They haven't got anything out of this situation at all, except bad press for harbouring an alleged rapist.

    So I believe the Ecuadorians have given him notice. This is just Assange's last gasp in the desperate hope that the UK authorities are just going to turn their back on the law and let him go.

    Well, if the last 2 years are anything to go by, that isn't going to happen. The British tend to stick to the law pretty rigidly, and Mr Assange is conveniently forgetting that he has broken UK law by breaching the terms of his bail. So not only did he stiff his 'friends' out of thousands of pounds that they put down as security for his bail, he broke the law. And he will have to face the fact that he will be arrested, put before a magistrate, who will then probably send him to prison (being an obvious flight risk) to await his trial and/or immediate extradition to Sweden, who will then also send him to prison to await his trial (being an obvious flight risk), and so he has in fact gained nothing.

    I also find it amusing that his entire reputation depends on the US trying to extradite him from Sweden. When they don't his reputation, and by association that of wikileaks will be totally, utterly and completely discredited.

    And all for this man's hubris, his arrogance, and his belief that he is above the laws of man, unlike the rest of us.

    Aug 19th, 2014 - 09:07 am 0
  • Idlehands

    Wouldn't it be a shame if some hapless member of the embassy staff managed to set light to a litter bin.

    I had no real problem with the concept or ideals of Wikileaks but Assange is now its biggest liability. Instead of being a neutral portal for information it seems to have become political, anti western and found some very unsavoury friends.

    Liveleak is better.

    Aug 19th, 2014 - 09:15 am 0
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