LONDON (The Blaze/AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called on President Barack Obama to end a “witch hunt” against his secret-spilling website, after appearing in public for the first time since he took refuge inside Ecuador’s embassy in London two months ago.
The 41-year-old Australian was on Thursday granted asylum by Ecuador as he seeks to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual misconduct allegations.
“I ask President Obama to do the right thing, the United States must renounce its witch hunt against WikiLeaks,” Assange said Sunday, speaking from a small balcony.
He also called on the U.S. to release Pfc. Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier who has been charged with aiding the enemy by passing the secret files to WikiLeaks and is awaiting trial.
“The U.S. war on whistleblowers must end,” Assange said.
He framed the battle against WikiLeaks as the U.S. turning its back on the “revolutionary values it was founded on.”
“As Wikileaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all our societies,” Assange said, according to the BBC. “We must use this moment to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America. Will it return to and re-affirm the revolutionary values it was founded on? Or will it lurch off the precipice, dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark.”
Assange remains out of reach of British authorities — who have vowed to turn him over to Sweden — as long as he remains inside the embassy. If he sets foot outside, he faces immediate detention by the dozens of British police who surround the building and are stationed inside a shared lobby.