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

Russia Names US NGO 'Undesirable'

Prosecutors determine activities of National Endowment for Democracy to be 'undesirable,' paving the way for it to be outlawed on Russian territory More

Erdogan Vows 'Anti-Terror' Campaign in Syria, Iraq

Erdogan expressed confidence the 'necessary steps' will be taken by NATO leaders, who will meet Tuesday at Turkey's request More

North Korea: 'No Interest at All' in Nuke Deal

Senior US envoy Sydney Seiler visits Beijing Tuesday for talks on how to revive the stalled six-party nuclear talks with North Korea 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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs