WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has appeared in public for the first time since he took refuge inside Ecuador’s embassy in London two months ago, addressing supporters from a balcony.
Assange, who sought shelter inside the nation’s mission on June 19, was on Thursday granted asylum by Ecuador as he seeks to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual misconduct allegations.
Speaking on Sunday, Assange thanked Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa for the “courage he has shown,” in granting him asylum.
Britain cannot detain Assange while he remains inside the embassy, but will not offer him safe passage to Ecuador.
Assange also called for the US to “renounced its witch hunt against WikiLeaks” and called for the release of Bradley Manning, a US soldier who is awaiting trial after being charged with aiding the enemy by passing secret files to WikiLeaks.
The 41-year-old Australian also highlighted the cases of Bahraini rights activist Nabeel Rajab, who was sentenced last week to three years for participating in “unauthorised” protests as well as Russian punk activist group, Pussy Riot, whose members were given a two year-sentence for on charges “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”.
“There is unity in the oppression,” said Assange. “There must be absolute unity and determination in the response.”