Julian Assange to leave Ecuadorian Embassy in London 'soon'

Assange: 'I am leaving the embassy soon'

    Just Watched

    Assange: 'I am leaving the embassy soon'

Assange: 'I am leaving the embassy soon' 01:51

Story highlights

  • WikiLeaks says "his departure is not imminent"
  • Assange is accused of sexual assault in Sweden
  • He says he fears Sweden will transfer him to the U.S.
  • If transferred to the U.S., he says he'll be charged for publishing government secrets

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said he'll leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London "soon" after living there for two years to avoid extradition to Sweden.

"I can confirm I am leaving the embassy soon, but not for the reason you might think," Assange said at a news conference Monday.

He did not provide additional details but said he is suffering from health problems and would leave "when conditions are right."

However, WikiLeaks said, "his departure is not imminent."

Ecuador's foreign minister, who sat next to him, said his freedom is long overdue.

"The situation must come to an end ... two years is too long," Ricardo Patino said. "It is time to free Julian Assange. It is time for his human rights to be respected."

WikiLeaks to release new documents

    Just Watched

    WikiLeaks to release new documents

WikiLeaks to release new documents 04:05
PLAY VIDEO
Rap duo collaborates with Assange

    Just Watched

    Rap duo collaborates with Assange

Rap duo collaborates with Assange 03:14
PLAY VIDEO
Assange: It is 'embarrassing' for Obama

    Just Watched

    Assange: It is 'embarrassing' for Obama

Assange: It is 'embarrassing' for Obama 02:53
PLAY VIDEO

Swedish authorities want to question him over allegations that he raped one woman and sexually molested another.

He denies the allegations and describes them as politically motivated.

"I've not been charged with an offense in the UK or Sweden," he said Monday.

Patino said Swedish prosecutors have disregarded offers to get evidence from Assange via video conference or send prosecutors to the embassy.

As a result, he said, the case remains unresolved years later, an injustice to both Assange and the two women.

"The end result is these requests have not been heeded," Patino said.

Assange says he fears Sweden will transfer him to the United States, where he could face the death penalty if he is charged and convicted of publishing government secrets through WikiLeaks.

Last month, his lawyers argued that the detention order against him should be revoked.

But Stockholm District Court Judge Lena Egelin ruled that Assange is still suspected, with probable cause, of sex crimes and his detention order should remain in place.

After the decision last month, prosecutor Marianne Ny said the warrant could remain in place until the statute of limitations takes effect -- five years for unlawful coercion and 10 years for rape.

Assange rocketed to international fame when WikiLeaks began publishing secret government documents online.

In addition to the Guantanamo procedures manual, it also published documents related to U.S. activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, and diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies.

In August 2010, Swedish prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for him over allegations of sexual assault from two female WikiLeaks volunteers.

He turned himself in to London authorities the same year, and was remanded in custody.

At the time, a judge ruled that he should be extradited to Sweden, and Assange launched a series of appeals that went all the way to the British Supreme Court. It denied his appeal.

In June 2012, Assange fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy to seek asylum, which was granted in August of the same year.

He's been living at the embassy in London since then.

Caution thrown to wind as WikiLeaks breaks gag order

      WikiLeaks

    • Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gather in southeast London in February 2011.

      From "Climategate" to leaked diplomatic cables, CNN takes an inside look at the WikiLeaks organization.
    • A U.S. soldier imprisoned for leaking documents to WikiLeaks broke her silence in a fiery editorial accusing the United States of lying about Iraq.
    • Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted from court on July 25, 2013 in Fort Meade, Maryland on July 25, 2013. The trial of Manning, accused of 'aiding the enemy' by giving secret documents to WikiLeaks, is entering its final stage Thursday as both sides present closing arguments. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

      A military judge acquitted Army Pfc. Bradley Manning of aiding the enemy, but convicted him of violations of the Espionage Act for turning over a trove of classified data to the website WikiLeaks.
    • Pfc. Bradley Manning is suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents

      Bradley Manning is naturally adept at computers, smart and opinionated, even brash, according to those who say they know him.
    • assange snowden

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange urged the world to "stand with" Edward Snowden, the man who admitted leaking top-secret details about U.S. surveillance programs.
    • Do you aspire to be the next Julian Assange or create a site like WikiLeaks? You'll have your work cut out for you.

      Julian Assange is waiting to hear if Ecuador will grant him asylum. He's dangling from a cliff, for sure. Hanging by a pinky next to him -- WikiLeaks.
    • shubert julian assange elections embassy short_00005904

      Holed up in Ecuador's Embassy in London, Julian Assange talks at length about his life and motivations.
    • lkl elbagir assange next move_00002403

      Assange's move is dramatic, but he's not the first person to seek an escape route through a diplomatic mission. Here are some key precedents.
    • assange

      Assange is a self-appointed champion of free speech and the founder of a web operation that has greatly antagonized the U.S. government.