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.
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- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media outside the Ecuador embassy in west London August 19, 2012. 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. Photo: Reuters
- Ecuador cast its dispute with Britain over asylum for WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange as a struggle against colonialism on Saturday, drawing growing support from its neighbors in the international diplomatic saga. Photo: Reuters
- Incensed by London's threat to break into the Ecuadorean Embassy where the former hacker is taking refuge, President Rafael Correa's government has accused Britain of bullying and has formally granted Assange asylum. Photo: Reuters
- Britain says it will not allow the anti-secrecy campaigner from Australia to travel to South America because it is obliged to extradite him to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations. Photo: Reuters
- "They're out of touch. Who do they think they're dealing with? Can't they see that this is a dignified and sovereign government which will not kneel down before anyone?" Correa said in his weekly address on Saturday. Photo: Reuters
- "What a mentality, eh? They have not realized that Latin America is free and sovereign and that we'll not put up with meddling, colonialism of any kind, at least in this country, small, but with a big heart." Photo: Reuters
- Trying to present the affair as an international David versus Goliath battle, Ecuador was hosting this weekend foreign ministers from both the ALBA group of leftist-led Latin American nations and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). Photo: Reuters
- On Saturday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called for ALBA members -- which also includes communist-ruled Cuba and Nicaragua, among others -- to stand behind Ecuador. Photo: Reuters
- "Latin America must be respected, our people must be respected, but only united can we earn that respect." Photo: Reuters
- Support for Ecuador appears to be growing in the region. "Britain ... is wrong. The threat is not only an aggression to Ecuador, it's against Bolivia, it's against South America, against the whole of Latin America," Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Friday. Photo: Reuters
- Ecuadorean state media said other nations including Colombia and Argentina were backing Correa's position. On Friday representatives of the hemispheric Organization of American States (OAS) called for a foreign ministers' meeting next week over the Assange affair. Photo: Reuters
- Ecuador, an oil-producing nation of 14.5 million people that seldom finds itself in the global spotlight, is furious Britain said it could make use of an obscure measure to break into its embassy where Assange has been for more than two months. Photo: Reuters
- The Ecuadorean government shares Assange's fears that he ultimately could be extradited to the United States, which is angry that his WikiLeaks website has leaked hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic and military cables. The leftist Correa, who has high popularity levels and is expected to run for re-election in February 2013, had developed some rapport with Assange during an online interview the WikiLeaks founder did with him this year. Correa's stance has been largely cheered by Ecuadoreans, and there have been scattered protests at the British Embassy. Photo: Reuters