Assange to leave Ecuadorean embassy in London

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, right, says he'll leave Ecuador's Embassy in London, at a news conference with Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino. Assange has been holed up at the embassy for two years.John Stillwell/AFP/Getty Images

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he'll leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has lived in diplomatic asylum for more than two years. Assange didn't name a date for his exit.

After calling a news conference, Assange, 43, said that the isolation of living in Ecuador's embassy since June of 2012 has taken a toll, mentioning problems with his heart and lungs.

Assange faces charges ranging from U.S. accusations that his anti-secrecy campaign damaged its national security, to allegations of rape and sexual assault in Sweden. And while he has lived in seclusion recently, WikiLeaks played a central role in helping former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden gain asylum in Russia, to escape U.S. espionage charges.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on today's news conference, for Morning Edition:
"The entire event had a pretty defensive tone. Assange laid out his rebuttal to the allegations against him, both in the U.S. and in Sweden. He said he has not been officially, publicly charged with any crimes.
"But British officials always said that if he set foot outside the embassy, he'd be arrested immediately — which would mean deportation to either Sweden or the U.S. to face trial.

via The NPR