Assange asks US administration to stop 'witch-hunt' against WikiLeaks

Monday, August 20, 2012
Julian Assange
[Credit: New Media Days/Peter Erichsen] 
London: WikiLeaks editor-in-chief and founder Julian Assange made first public appearance in two months.

Speaking from the balcony of Ecuador's London embassy, Assange asked United States to stop “witch-hunt” against the whistleblower website.

“The United States must renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks. The US administration must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful,” he said.

The 41-year-old Australian internet activist praised Ecuadorian government and people for helping him with his goals of getting asylum.

“I thank President Correa for the courage he has shown in considering and granting me political asylum. And so I thank the government and the Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patiño, who have upheld the Ecuadorian constitution and its notion of universal rights in their consideration of my case. And to the Ecuadorian people for supporting and defending their constitution,” Assange said.

The speech lasted around seven minutes.

Notably, following a European Arrest Warrant and an Interpol red notice issued for him in relation to allegations in Sweden of rape and sexual assault, and a failed appeal in Britain against extradition to Sweden, Assange broke his bail conditions on 19 June 2012 to enter the Ecuadorian embassy in London requesting political asylum on the grounds that he was being persecuted. Ecuador granted Assange asylum on 16 August 2012.

Meanwhile, the British government has said that it “will not allow safe passage out of the embassy”, and will arrest him when and if he leaves the embassy and has reportedly warned the Ecuadorian authorities of legal provisions that could allow Britain to remove the diplomatic status of the embassy building where Assange has obtained refuge.

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