Julian Assange to leave Ecuadorian Embassy "soon"

Wikileaks founder claims his two-year stay at the embassy in London will soon be over

Julian Assange

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange plans to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London "soon", after taking refuge there two years ago.

Assange was granted diplomatic asylum by the embassy in June 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over sexual misconduct allegations.

He announced his intention to leave the embassy during a press conference earlier today, where he hit out at the fact he's not been charged with any offences in the UK or Sweden since seeking refuge.

"I am leaving the embassy soon, but perhaps not for the reasons [the press] are saying at the moment," he said.

In the lead up to the announcement, press speculation had suggested Assange was planning to hand himself over to the authorities and leave the embassy on health grounds.

When pressed for more information on what he meant by "soon", Asssange declined to give any further details.

During the conference, Assange acknowledged his health may have suffered as a result of being holed up in the embassy for two years, but stopped short of stating this as his sole motivation for leaving.

"As you can imagine, being detained for various ways in this country for four years and in this embassy for two years, which has no outside area and therefore no direct sunlight... it is an environment in which any healthy person would find themselves soon enough with certain difficulties," he explained.  

Speaking alongside Assange, Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, said justice hasn't been done for anyone over the past two years.

"It is time to respect human rights... it is time to free Julian Assange," he said.

"We continue to offer Assange our protection," he added.

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