News / Europe

Wikileaks' Assange Seeks Exit From Ecuador's London Embassy

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino (L) and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speak during a press conference inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he confirmed he
Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino (L) and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speak during a press conference inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he confirmed he "will be leaving the embassy soon", Monday Aug. 18, 2014.
VOA News

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says he may leave the embassy of Ecuador in London where he has sought political asylum for the past two years.

During a news conference with Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, Assange confirmed a Wikileaks spokesman's statement he would leave the embassy "soon." Assange did not offer further details.

Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy 2012 when British courts said he could be extradited to Sweden for allegations of sexual misconduct there.

  • Members of the media wait outside the Ecuadorian embassy during a news conference for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in central London, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (right) listens as Ecuador's Foreign Affairs Minister Ricardo Patino (second from right) speaks during a news conference at the Ecuadorian embassy, in central London, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • Police stand guard during a news conference by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy, in central London, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures during a news conference at the Ecuadorian embassy, in central London, Aug. 18, 2014.


The Australian former journalist fears Sweden would hand him over to the United States, where he likely would face trial for one of the largest leaks of classified material in American history.

Assange and his Wikileaks team published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents, including military documents on the Iraq war and U.S. embassy cables detailing its dealings with countries around the world.  

Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said "let us hope that he leaves the embassy very soon," but added Assange would only leave if the British authorities dropped their decision to extradite him.

The British government says it has spent $10 million policing the embassy to ensure Assange does not flee the country.

Patino said he hopes his government could meet with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to discuss the situation.

'Call off the Siege'

WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of confidential U.S. documents on the Internet in 2010. That embarrassed the United States, and some critics say it put national security and people's lives at risk.

Ecuador later granted Assange political asylum. But he was unable to leave Britain and has ended up living in the embassy's cramped quarters in central London.

His comments briefly raised the possibility of his leaving imminently. But Kristinn Hrafnsson, his spokesman, 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, he added.

Ecuador's Patino said he would try to hold talks with his British counterpart to resolve the case. Recent changes to British extradition laws may mean Assange would not be facing extradition if his case had just started.

Britain's Foreign Office said it remained as committed as ever to reaching a diplomatic solution to the problem, but it reiterated that Assange still needed to be extradited.

“As ever we look to Ecuador to help bring this difficult, and costly, situation to an end,” a spokeswoman said.

The Assange issue has put Britain and Ecuador at odds, with London angered by the decision of Ecuador's socialist President Rafael Correa to grant him asylum and Quito unhappy at the British refusal to allow him safe passage.

Asked about his health, Assange said anyone would be affected by spending two years in a building with no outside areas or direct sunlight, a complaint he has made several times before.

Information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
August 18, 2014 2:57 PM
The real risk here is what can be placed electronically in the public domain and how much new material is available for release, an immense concern to the security services, who cannot afford him fleeing to another Country, like Edward Snowden.

by: Cj p from: California
August 18, 2014 2:27 PM
Why are there so many issues with transparency?

by: Anonymous
August 18, 2014 2:17 PM
'Call of the Siege' lol

by: ricov from: US/
August 18, 2014 1:35 PM
Enjoy your stay, crybaby -- people have paid for your fun.

by: Gino Tortelli from: Phoenix, AZ
August 18, 2014 12:39 PM
When you poke a bear with a stick, you should be ready to live with the consequences. Governments hate to be exposed. He knew that and went ahead anyway. Now, he's complaining he gets no sunlight? If he gives himself up and get extradited, I'm sure that he will get some time in the exercise yard at the federal prison. Problem solved.

by: Tony Williams from: USA
August 18, 2014 12:37 PM
Got a big kick out of the quote by the British Home Office spokeswoman claiming recent changes to British extradition law didn't apply to Mr. Assange because "There were changes made to the law but they are not retrospective.” Anybody in England know the difference between 'retrospective' and 'retroactive'?
In Response

by: djwixx from: USA
August 18, 2014 2:17 PM
"Anybody in England know the difference between 'retrospective' and 'retroactive'?"
Yes - clearly you don't have access to a dictionary!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs