Wikileaks founder Assange hopes UK legal changes could end long embassy stay

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Wikileaks founder Assange hopes UK legal changes could end long embassy stay

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Julian Assange looks to be pinning his hopes on recent changes to British extradition laws to allow him to emerge from Ecuador’s London embassy a free man.

At a news conference on Monday, the Wikileaks founder, who has spent over two years in the building to avoid a sex crimes inquiry in Sweden, said he planned to leave “soon”.

“What needs to change is the position of the UK authorities where they formally have basically admitted that they made a mistake two years ago by changing the law,” said Wikilieaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson.

“The changes came into effect last month where it is obvious that even if the case of Assange would be coming up before the court today he would not be extradited.

“An extradition without charges would not be possible.”

But that would only apply, it seems, if Assange’s case had just started, as the changes are not retrospective.

Wikileaks began releasing thousands of confidential US documents on the Internet in 2010. That is when two women made allegations against him.

Australian Assange, 43, says he fears extradition to Sweden would see him then handed over to the United States.

“I am leaving the embassy soon … but perhaps not for the reasons that Murdoch press and Sky news are saying at the moment,” Assange told reporters at the embassy in central London.

Britain’s Sky News, part owned by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, had earlier reported that Assange was considering leaving the embassy due to deteriorating health.

Asked further about his health, Assange said that anyone would be affected by spending two years in a building with no outside areas or direct sunlight, a complaint he has made several times before.