Julian Assange hasn’t stepped foot outside the Ecuadorian embassy in nearly 800 days. Now, the WikiLeaks founder says that could soon change.
ASSANGE: "I am leaving soon, but perhaps not for the reasons that the Murdoch press and Sky News are saying." (Video via Channel 4 News)
Assange didn’t specify exactly what he meant by “soon.” He didn’t say when, and he also didn’t elaborate on why his self-imposed confinement was coming to an end, only making a brief mention of health problems.
That left a lot of news outlets speculating over whether Assange meant he was turning himself in.
After some confusion, his spokesperson told reporters Assange has no plans to do so, and he'll only leave the embassy if the UK grants him safe passage.
And it doesn't look like that will happen anytime soon. For past two years, the UK hasn't wavered as Assange has been holed up in Ecuadorian embassy in London. (Video via RT)
Assange took refuge there in 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden where he’s wanted for questioning over the alleged sexual assaults of two women.
He denies the charges and refuses to turn himself over fears he’ll be extradited to the U.S. where he could face prison time for publishing thousands diplomatic cables. That's left Assange in a sort of legal limbo. (Video via CBS)
As a result of his confinement, the Ecuadorian foreign minister says Assange’s basic human rights have been violated. He wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian, “The impossibility of leaving the embassy prevents the fulfilment of Assange’s asylum and seriously affects his quality of life and health.”
A writer for the Daily Mail who recently interviewed Assange at the embassy described his worsening appearance: "His usually pale skin is now almost translucent and on his face it is so puffy it looks as if it is lifting off his naturally sharp cheekbones. He has a chronic cough which the installation of a humidifier to moisten the dry, air-conditioned atmosphere has done little to ease.”
UK police have spent at least $11 million keeping the embassy under 24-hour surveillance. They've refused to comment on whether Assange would face immediate arrest if he left the embassy to go to the hospital.
This video includes images from Getty Images.