Julian Assange plans to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in the near future, he told a press conference at the embassy’s London compound, where he’s been holed up for two years. The WikiLeaks founder gave no further details.
“I am leaving the embassy soon, but perhaps not for the reasons [reported],” he told journalists, refusing to clarify what his reasons are.
Speaking at the conference, he recounted the ordeal of having to hide from prosecution in a case where for four years no charges have been leveled. This has led to a serious deterioration of his health, including heart problems.
He listed a host of reasons he believes to be at the center of the injustice taking place in his situation.
“Throughout this entire time I have not been charged,” he spoke. “Europe is meant to be a place where the rule of law is respected, where basic rights are respected… but somehow a situation has developed where basic rights that we have previously universally accepted are no longer respected.”
The whistleblower continues to flatly deny any rape allegations, which have not been backed up by any formal charges.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minster Ricardo Patino was also present at the conference to defend Assange. He spoke of the continuing efforts on the part of Assange’s legal team and the government of Ecuador to bring the situation to a close in a manner that satisfies both the Ecuadorian and the Swedish legal systems. However, they have not come to fruition.
He saw Assange’s stay at the embassy as “two years of great uncertainty and lack of justice for everyone,” because, while “the effective legal protection of [the whistleblower] has been breached” and no progress was made in the case, the same was true for the Swedish women who are the alleged victims at the other end.
“We continue to be ready to talk to the British and Swedish governments,” Patino said. But “It is time to free Julian Assange, it’s time for his legal rights to be respected.”
One of the whistleblower’s closing remarks was to question exactly what kind of legacy US President Barack Obama would like to leave.
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