Assange: I'm Leaving Embassy 'Soon'

He says 2 years inside has taken toll on health
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2014 4:29 AM CDT
Updated Aug 18, 2014 6:30 AM CDT
Julian Assange sits inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London last year.   (AP Photo/ Sunshine Press Productions, File)
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(Newser) – After more than two years holed up in Ecuador's London embassy, Julian Assange says he will be leaving "soon." In a press conference today—which the Guardian says left people "more flummoxed than enlightened"—the WikiLeaks founder confirmed rumors that he would be departing soon but didn't offer many details. The 43-year-old told reporters that his time in the embassy has been terrible for his health, the BBC reports. Before Assange spoke, Ecuador's ambassador said the country would continue to offer him protection but it "is time to free Assange. It is time for his human rights to be respected."

Assange, who is wanted for questioning on sexual assault charges in Sweden, took refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition and was granted asylum in August that year. In an interview with the Daily Mail published yesterday, he blasted the British government for spending $400,000 to have police watch the embassy and said, "Maybe it’s time to think that WikiLeaks is not the main problem here for the West, maybe me and my publishing house are a lesser threat than, say, the Islamic State in Iraq." Sources tell the paper that Assange suffers from a heart condition, lung problems, and assorted other health conditions caused by a lack of "sunshine vitamin" Vitamin D.

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