Secret-spilling website founder Julian Assange has lived a pretty closed-off existence since taking refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London, but now he is resuming his more familiar role of speaking out.
And, it would seem, the man behind WikiLeaks has plenty to say about the U.S. government and President Barack Obama. He is calling on Obama to stop what he says is a "witch hunt" against his controversial website, reports The Washington Post.
Assange spoke from a balcony in London where a heavy police presence could be seen outside the building along with a huge scrum of reporters, photographers and television crews who were barricaded in metal pens, reports The Telegraph.
He also urged the U.S. to release Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier charged with aiding the enemy by passing to WikiLeaks secret files involving U.S. diplomatic cables.
On Thursday, Ecuador decided to grant Assange political asylum, so as to prevent the 41-year-old Australian from being extradited to Sweden, where he is suspected of committing sexual offenses.
Assange took refuge in Ecuador's London embassy in June after a court there denied his extradition appeal, which meant he would be sent to Sweden and questioned by police.
The British government has reportedly said that it will not allow Assange safe passage to leave the country for Ecuador. Last week, the embassy publicly objected to what it said were British threats to enter its building using force.
Assange's supporters believe that in Sweden he could face up to a year in solitary confinement while waiting to be questioned, as well as up to four years in prison if he is convicted. They also fear he could be moved to the United States, where he could be tried for espionage.
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