UPDATE 2-WikiLeaks' Assange hopes to exit London embassy if UK lets him

lunes 18 de agosto de 2014 08:17 GYT

* Assange says plans to leave embassy "soon"

* Spokesman says Britain needs to call off 'siege' first

* Britain maintains Assange should be extradited

* He'd be arrested if he tried to leave (Adds further details, background)

By Kylie MacLellan

LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent over two years in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid a sex crimes inquiry in Sweden, said on Monday he planned to leave the building "soon", but Britain signalled it would still arrest him if he tried.

Assange made the surprise assertion during a news conference alongside Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino. But his spokesman played down the chances of an imminent departure, saying the British government would first need to revise its position and let him leave without arrest, something it has repeatedly refused to do.

The 43-year-old Australian fled to the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition for questioning in Sweden over sex assault and rape allegations, which he denies.

He says he fears that if extradited to Sweden he would then be handed over to the United States, where he could be tried for one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.   Continuación...