Julian Assange: U.S. Should Stop Wikileaks Witch-Hunt

Julian Assange has urged the US to end its “witch-hunt” against Wikileaks, in his first public statement since entering Ecuador’s London embassy. He also called for the release of Bradley Manning, who is awaiting trial in the US accused of leaking classified documents to the Wikileaks site.

Mr Assange spoke from a balcony at the embassy and thanked Ecuador’s president, who has granted him asylum. He faces extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies. The 41-year-old said the United States must also stop its “war on whistleblowers”.

The US is carrying out an investigation into Wikileaks, which has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables, embarrassing several governments and international businesses. Alleged Wikileaks source Bradley Manning, 24, an intelligence analyst in the American army who served in Iraq, is alleged to have leaked US government cables to the whistle-blowing website. He is set to face a court martial. In an interview for US television in 2010, Mr Assange denied any knowledge of Pte Manning.

It is an established international convention that local police and security forces are not permitted to enter an embassy, unless they have the express permission of the ambassador. The Foreign Office has said it remained committed to reaching a “negotiated solution” but following its obligations under the Extradition Act, it would arrest Mr Assange if he left the embassy.

In 2010, two female ex-Wikileaks volunteers accused Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, of committing sexual offences against them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture. Mr Assange claims the sex was consensual and the allegations are politically motivated.

How long do you think can Julian Assange remain in Ecuador’s London Embassy? What is your view regarding the accusations against him and the US’ investigation into Wikileaks? Share your thoughts and opinions with us through the comment box below!

Source: BBC News

Image: Yahoo News

Ecuador: U.K. Threatened To Arrest Wikileaks Founder Inside Embassy

Ecuador has accused the UK of making a “threat” to enter its embassy in London to arrest Wikileaks’ Julian Assange. Mr Assange took refuge at the embassy in June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over assault and rape claims, which he denies.

The Wikileaks website published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments, particularly the US, in 2010, and Mr Assange says he fears Sweden will pass him on to the American authorities.

At a news conference in Quito on Wednesday, Ecuador foreign minister Ricardo  Patino said a letter from the UK government was delivered through a British embassy official: “Today we received from the United Kingdom an express threat, in writing, that they might storm our Embassy in London if we don’t hand over Julian Assange,” he said. He said such a threat was “improper of a democratic, civilised and rule abiding country”.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the UK remained “determined” to fulfill its obligation to extradite Mr Assange. Police have so far been unable to detain Mr Assange for breaching the terms of his bail as he is on diplomatic territory. The law Britain has informed Ecuador it could use in the case is the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987. It allows the UK to revoke the diplomatic status of an embassy on UK soil, which would potentially allow police to enter the building to arrest Mr Assange.

In 2010, two female ex-Wikileaks volunteers alleged that Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, had attacked them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture. Mr Assange claims the sex was consensual and the allegations are politically motivated. He says he is concerned he may be sent later to the US to face espionage charges. In June, judges at the UK’s Supreme Court dismissed his final appeal against extradition to Sweden.

Should Ecuador just hand over Julian Assange to avoid more conflict? Do you think the Wikileaks founder is guilty of the assault and rape charges he is currently facing?

Source: BBC News

Image: Reuters