WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Wednesday mocked U.S. President Barack Obama for advocating the freedom of expression in the Middle East while "persecuting" WikiLeaks for “hacking” the diplomatic cables.
In a video clip which was shown at a an event on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York Wednesday, the Australian hacker-activist said that President was advocating the freedom of expression for his political gains and had done more damage to it than his predecessors.
Assange, who has taken asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June to avoid extradition to Sweden, alleged that Obama had double standards when it came to the freedom of expression. He lashed out at Obama for raising the issue of the freedom of expression to support the Arab Spring but not applying the same grounds to stop harassing the WikiLeaks.
"It must have come as a surprise to the Egyptian teenagers who washed American teargas out of their eyes (during the Arab Spring) to hear that the U.S. supported change in the Middle East," Assange said, Reuters reported.
Assange (41) said the President was not committed to the cause of transparency and the freedom of expression. "It's time for President Obama to keep his word ... and for the U.S. to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks," he said.
Assange is facing rape and sexual assault cases in Sweden and is holed up in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden. Though the U.S. and European governments have made it clear that they are not pressing any criminal charges against Assange, England wants to arrest and extradite him the moment he steps out of the embassy.
Ecuador, which has justified the asylum given to the anti-secrecy advocate, alleges that Assange is being persecuted without any proper criminal charges against him. Speaking at the UNGA, Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino raised concerns over Assange’s safety if he was extradited to the U.S. or Sweden and said that his country would not handover Assange to the UK authorities.
However, in an interview to Reuters, he said that there were "multiple paths" that could lead out of the standoff and he would be meeting British Foreign Secretary William Hague in New York Thursday to discuss the Assange issue.