Julian Assange calls on Obama to “end the witch-hunt” on whistleblowers

by Isi Esene

Julian Assange made his first public appearance on Sunday after taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy about two months ago.

He used the opportunity to call on the U.S. authorities to stop what he called a “witch-hunt” of his website, Wikileaks.

Assange was recently granted asylum by the Ecuadorian government which expressed distrust of the reasons given for his extradition to Sweden purportedly to answer assault and rape charges leveled against him in the Scandinavian country.

The Wikileaks founder believes the Swedish allegation is a decoy employed by the U.S. government to get back at him for the embarrassment Wikileaks caused it by leaking its crucial official secrets to the public in 2010.

While standing on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Assange spoke about the threat to his freedom of speech by the UK government, he said: “As Wikileaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of our societies. We must use this movement to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America. Will it return and reaffirm the values it was founded on.

He urged the U.S. authorities to stop the persecution of the whistle-blowing site saying, “I ask President Obama to do the right thing. The United States must renounce its witch hunt against Wikileaks.

“The United States must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful.”

Assange’s balcony appearance occurred as foreign ministers from the Union of South American Nations gathered in Ecuador’s second city, Guayaquil, to discuss the diplomatic situation caused by the asylum decision.

The UK government has, however, insisted that Assange would not be granted a safe passageway out of the country. It threatened that he would be taken into custody as soon as he ventures out of the Latin American embassy.

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