Assange demands end to 'witch-hunt'
Aug 20 2012
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has made his first public appearance since seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London - and issued a defiant call to Washington to "renounce its witch-hunt" against his organisation.
The Australian appeared on the embassy's balcony - the first time he has been seen for two months - and urged the US government to "reaffirm the revolutionary values it was founded on".
Mr Assange, who is wanted in Sweden for questioning on sexual assault allegations, thanked Ecuador for taking a "stand for justice" in giving him political asylum.
The decision has led to a diplomatic stand-off involving Ecuador, Sweden and the British Government, which insists it is legally obliged to hand him over. Foreign Secretary William Hague has made it clear Mr Assange will not be allowed safe passage out of the country.
Mr Assange denies the allegations and fears being transferred to America if he travels to contest them. He enraged the US government in 2010 when WikiLeaks published tranches of secret US diplomatic cables.
Earlier, his legal adviser Baltasar Garzon said Mr Assange had instructed his lawyers "to carry out a legal action" to protect his rights. He told media representatives: "He demands that WikiLeaks and his own rights be respected. Julian Assange has instructed his lawyers to carry out a legal action in order to protect the rights of WikiLeaks, Julian himself and all those currently being investigated."
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