Assange asks Australian PM to bring him home
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has called on Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to bring him home just days before he faces an extradition hearing related to sexual assault allegations.
Australian-born Assange, on bail in Britain while fighting extradition to Sweden, is due in court in London on Monday.
Swedish prosecutors want to question the 39-year-old about allegations made by two women that he sexually assaulted them, but he insists the attempt is politically motivated and linked to WikiLeaks' activities.
In a video posted on the Sydney Morning Herald website, Assange called on Gillard to support him.
"There has been outrageous and illegal calls to have me and my staff killed, clear cases of incitement to violence. Yet the Australian government has condoned this behaviour by its diplomatic silence," he said.
"Julia Gillard should be taking active steps to bring me home and to protect our people. She should be contacting the US embassy and demanding that it back off."
Assange, a former hacker who has released classified documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and from US diplomats stationed around the world, said he could not wait to be back in Melbourne.
In his video message, which the Herald said was made for Melbourne supporters, he also criticised the Australian government over East Timor.
"It would appear that the Labor government today is doing what Labor did in 1975 regarding East Timor -- talking about human rights while trying to downplay attacks on journalists.
"Because you and I should be in no doubt of one thing. We are a media organisation. I am a publisher and I am a journalist."
The WikiLeaks founder is currently under US criminal investigation over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret military reports and diplomatic cables.
On Sunday he detailed a plan to release a deluge of secret documents should the whistleblower website be permanently shut down.
© 2011 AFP