By Meghashyam Mali - 08/19/12 02:53 PM EDT
Julian Assange on Sunday called on President Obama to end his “witch hunt’ against the website he founded, WikiLeaks.
“As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all of our societies,” Assange said in an address from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to reports. “I ask President Obama to do the right thing -- the United States must renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks.”
Assange also called on the administration to release Pfc. Bradley Manning, the American soldier who has been charged with passing secret files to WikiLeaks and is awaiting trial.
He has denied the allegations against him and said they were retaliation for his organization’s publication of secret U.S. documents and has sought assurances that he not be extradited from Sweden to the United States where he is fears prosecution for publishing classified materials.
On Thursday, Ecuador’s foreign minister announced that the country would grant Assange political asylum.
Britain’s government has said it will not give Assange, who is an Australian national, safe passage to Ecuador, claiming he violated the terms of his bail when he sought asylum in their embassy.
On Thursday, the State Department reiterated that the United States would not take a role in the standoff.
"This is an issue between the Ecuadorans, the Brits, the Swedes … it is an issue among the countries involved, and we're not planning to interject ourselves," said spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.