Controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to finally leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London two years after claiming political asylum there.
The Australian journalist, who was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in 2013 drama The Fifth Estate, has been holed up in the building since 2012 in a bid to avoid arrest and extradition to Sweden on rape and sexual assault allegations.
Authorities in the U.S. also want to question him in connection with his exposure of sensitive and controversial military secrets on his website.
During a press conference held at the embassy on Monday (18Aug14), Assange confirmed he is now poised to come out of hiding, telling reporters, "It has now been two years since I was granted political asylum in this embassy... I've not been charged with an offence in the U.K. or in Sweden and there has been no public indictment related to my work in the U.S... Being detained in... this embassy for two years which has no outside area, therefore no sunlight... it is an environment in which any healthy person would find themselves soon enough with certain difficulties."
He went on to confirm he is preparing to leave the building but dismissed rumours his exit has been prompted by health troubles, adding, "I am leaving the embassy soon, but perhaps not for the reasons the... press... are saying at the moment."
Assange was previously represented by George Clooney's lawyer fiancee Amal Alamuddin, who was his attorney during his extradition fight with Swedish authorities in 2011.