See also remarks by Ecuador’s Foreign Minister at same press conference at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
18 August 2014
Transcript of remarks made by Julian Assange at this press conference (before questions taken).
Thank you for coming here today. I will keep my remarks brief because the minister has a plane to catch quite urgently and I know you have a lot of questions you want to ask.
First of all, it has been almost four years since I was first detained in this country and [missed] imprisoned without charge.
It has been now two years since I was granted legal asylum in this embassy.
Through all that time, nearly four years, I have not been charged with an offence in the United Kingdom or in Sweden and
there has been no public indictment in relation to my work in the United States.
How can it be that such a situation in Europe arises
where a person is held and their freedom of movement is restricted
and they are kept from their family
while a foreign government, the United States, builds an ever larger case against that person and their organisation?
Europe is meant to be a place where the rule of law is respected, where basic rights are respected.
But somehow the situation has developed here, for me but also some others, where basic rights that were previously universally accepted in Europe are no longer respected.
But the situation is changing.
As a result of Ecuador’s respect for the constitution of asylum, despite significant pressure at a diplomatic level and at the media levels,
My asylum, rights wise, not being able to be executed in the way that they should, have been protected in this interim manner and now an understanding has developed within the United Kingdom that the position that was taken by Ecuador is the correct one.
How has this come to pass?
How this has come to pass is that the British Parliament and the British legal community has seen the abuses of my rights and the rights of many other Britons who have been extradited without charge, that has led to a package of reforms that came into force last month proposed by … led by minister Damian Green
So I am thankful that the United Kingdom is standing up for its long held values of due process, that there must be formal charges against the person before their liberty is deprived from them.
And that Ecuador, together with the support of a number of Latin American states and human rights groups here in the United Kingdom, have protected my rights while this change in law has occurred.
But it has now occurred.
Those changes have now reached fruition and are now law in this country.
Because there has been very significant misreporting on this case and the asylum stand off, partly because it is so complex, but partly also, unfortunately, because there are large stakes for the resolution of this situation, the prestige of multiple countries and organisations is involved and that has led to sometimes, unfortunately, misreporting, unprofessional reporting.
So first of all
I have not been charged with an offence here in the United Kingdom or in Sweden at any time… like you.
Secondly, the basis under which my asylum was granted here is the ongoing US investigation into me and WikiLeaks.
That investigation, led by the US Department of Justice, described by the United States in its own internal documents and by the Australian government as a ‘whole of government investigation’ is an investigation that involves a dozen [missed] agencies.
It has now been going more than 4 and a half and the last update in relation to that investigation was the 25th April where the DoJ formally filed in the US federal court that it is continuing, it is not in relation to Chelsea Manning directly, rather it is in relation to the founders and managers of WikiLeaks and its purpose is to pursue a prosecution.
These are simple important contextual facts that should never be removed from any reportage about this situation.
Additionally, it is often falsely reported that women in Sweden have accused me of the serious crime of rape.
That is false.
No woman has done so, in fact the women in Sweden explicitly deny that they have done that and in the submissions to the Supreme Court of this country, in the agreed statement of facts, the Swedish government admits to that fact.
So, please, there should be no reportage saying women accusing me of something.
This is a situation which has being seized on at a time of the publications, at the time of great conflict between me and the United States, and the Swedish government resurrected a matter that had been previously dropped and pursued it aggressively.
One can speculate about what kind of prestige, motivations there may have been to do that, or political pressure, but it is not a simple matter to describe since I have not been charged in that country in any formal sense.
Now, in relation to the recent developments,
It is not just, now, sections of the British Parliament that are saying that there should be changes.
In June, 59 legal and human rights organisations made a submission, a formal submission in relation to the legal and diplomatic abuses that occurred in my situation, against the Swedish government.
A range of organisations from American Association of Jurists to even two Swedish legal organisations, the National Lawyers Guild of America [missed].
On June 19, 54 organisations including Human Rights Watch, the ACLU (The American Civil Liberties Union), the Centre for Constitutional Rights in the United States, wrote to the US Attorney General and said it is time to drop the aggressive investigation by the US DoJ into WikiLeaks and also into myself.
This investigation puts all publishers and all journalists at risk.
So far there has been no answer from the US DoJ.
But one can speculate about what legacy the Obama administration is leaving itself in pursuing an investigation like this for more than four and a half years producing, according to the FBI, a file of over 42,000 pages for its own prosecution.