Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says he will be leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London and handing himself in to police.
“I am leaving the embassy soon but perhaps not for the reasons [reported],” he told journalists.
Speaking at the conference, he recounted the ordeal of having to hide from prosecution in a case where for four years no charges have been levelled. This has led to a serious deterioration in his health.
The 43-year-old is believed to have developed a heart condition and a chronic lung condition as a result of spending two years in the embassy.
Assange went on to explain why he has been forced to seek refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:
“Throughout this entire time I have not been charged,” he spoke. “Europe is meant to be a place where the rule of law is respected, where basic rights are respected…but somehow a situation has developed where basic rights that we have previously universally accepted are no longer respected.”
Assange was given shelter at the Ecuadorian embassy in June 2012 after a British court ruled to extradite him to Sweden over alleged sex crimes. The Australian said he considered Sweden’s accusations a pretext to eventually send him to the United States, which is seeking to get hold of Assange for leaking military and diplomatic documents in 2010.
It is expected that Assange would be arrested by the British police if he left the grounds of the embassy regardless of any medical condition.