“It is time to free Julian Assange, it is time for his human rights to be respected,” Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said in London on Monday.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Mr. Assange, held to mark the completion of the second year of the WikiLeaks founder’s stay as a political asylee in his country’s embassy in London, Mr. Patino highlighted the “serious breach” of Julian Assange’s human rights, and of the “lost two years” during which the Swedish prosecuting authorities have stonewalled all attempts by Ecuador to find a just way out of the impasse.
Mr. Assange caused a stir amongst the select group of journalists from British and international media outlets by confirming that he would be “leaving soon” from his Ecuadorian refuge, without elaborating further but to say that it would be for reasons “different from what Sky or other Murdoch media are saying,” — a reference to the media reports that he was ill with a serious heart condition.
His team, however, later put his remarks in perspective as an expression of hope arising from positive developments in British law rather than imminent departure on grounds of health. Mr. Patino and Mr. Assange welcomed the changes in British extradition laws effected last month that will no longer allow persons who have not been charged to be extradited.