WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, speaking via a choppy video feed from his virtual house arrest in London, lashed out at U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday for supporting freedom of speech in the Middle East while simultaneously “persecuting” his organization for leaking diplomatic cables.
Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy since June to avoid extradition, made the comments at a packed event on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Assange mocked Obama for defending free speech in the Arab world in an address to the United Nations on Tuesday, pointing to his own experience as evidence that Obama has “done more to criminalize free speech than any other U.S. president.”
“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.
“It’s time for President Obama to keep his word … and for the U.S. to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks,” he said.
CONTINUED at Reuters.