Julian Assange Says He is to Leave London's Ecuadorian Embassy "Soon"
Embattled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has revealed that he plans to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London after more than two years inside.
Speaking at a press conference Monday, the Australian said he would leave the building “soon” without elaborating on an exact date of departure.
Assange, who has been living within the embassy under political asylum since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden where he faces two rape charges, did however suggest that his decision wasn’t based on his ill-health, which had been reported by the U.K.’s Sky News, part-owned by Rupert Murdoch.
“I am leaving the embassy soon, but perhaps not for the reasons that Murdoch press and Sky News are saying at the moment,” he said, again without providing any further details.
Assange’s deteriorating health has been a growing concern, with supporters claiming that his long confinement in a building without access to outdoor areas or direct sunlight has resulted in a heart defect and lung condition. U.K. police have been stationed outside the embassy since he first entered, under orders to arrest him should he attempt to leave and preventing him from seeking hospital treatment.
Last year it was revealed that the 47-year-old’s long spell in the embassy had seen visits from John Cusack, Lady Gaga, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and Yoko Ono. Among his legal representatives are Amal Alamuddin, the U.K./Lebanese human rights lawyer engaged to George Clooney.
2013 saw the release of two major films regarding Assange. Alex Gibney's We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, was a Sundance-premiering documentary that chronicled the rise of Assange’s whistleblower website and its groundbreaking Iraq and Afghanistan war leaks, and was widely praised.
The Fifth Estate, from Participant Media and DreamWorks, opened the Toronto International Film Festival and saw Benedict Cumberbatch play the activist. However Assange denounced the film as a “massive propaganda attack” and wrote a letter to the Sherlock star urging him not to be a part of the project. The Fifth Estate earned just over $8.5 million and was widely considered a flop, scoring one of the lowest openings for a DreamWorks release.