US Has No Comment on Assange Call for an End to 'Witch Hunt'

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

LONDON (AP) - The White House isn't commenting on Sunday's appeal from Julian Assange that the U.S. end what he calls a "witch hunt" against his website, WikiLeaks.

Saturday, the Obama administration said the fate of Assange is a matter for Sweden, Britain and Ecuador to resolve. Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London for two months, to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where's he's facing sex crimes allegations. On Thursday, Ecuador granted him asylum -- but for now, that only means that he can stay in the embassy. If he leaves, British authorities say they will arrest him.

Today, Assange made his first public appearance since he entered the embassy two months ago. He spoke from an embassy balcony to supporters outside. Dozens of British police were watching.

Assange praised Ecuador's president for his "courage" in granting him asylum. And he called on President Barack Obama to "do the right thing." He said the U.S. should end an FBI investigation of the secret-spilling website, and promise not to prosecute its staff or supporters.

He says charges should be dropped against Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier who is charged with aiding the enemy by passing secret U.S. State Department files to WikiLeaks, which posted them online.

One of the supporters who gathered to hear him speak today said the sex crime allegations in Sweden are just a way of "silencing WikiLeaks."

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