WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is calling former contractor Edward Snowden, who has admitted to leaking information on classified National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs, part of a “generation that Barack Obama betrayed.”
Assange said charges against Snowden are “intended to intimidate any country that might be considering standing up for his rights.”
Federal prosecutors have charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Friday night.
“The US government is spying on each and every one of us, but it is Edward Snowden who is charged with espionage for tipping us off,” Assange said.
Assange sought refuge at the embassy in London one year ago as he fights extradition to Sweden, where he was accused of rape and sexual molestation.
“It has now been a year since I entered this embassy and sought refuge from persecution,” Assange said.
“As a result of that decision, I have been able to work in relative safety from a US espionage investigation. But today, Edward Snowden’s ordeal is just beginning.”
Assange’s appearance at the embassy was postponed "due to a security situation," WikiLeaks said on Twitter.
Assange said government secrecy has been “expanding on a terrific scale” in the last decade, while “human privacy has been secretly eradicated.”
“It is getting to the point where the mark of international distinction and service to humanity is no longer the Nobel Peace Prize, but an espionage indictment from the US Department of Justice,” he said.