BARACK Obama has offered his strongest condemnation yet of WikiLeaks’ “deplorable” documents dump, as Julian Assange’s supporters called for protests to press for his release.
In a call to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the US President “expressed his regrets for the deplorable action by WikiLeaks and the two leaders agreed that it will not influence or disrupt the close cooperation between the United States and Turkey,” the White House said.
The comments, and similar statements in a call to his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon, were Mr Obama’s most forceful yet against the website, whose disclosure of a trove of secret US diplomatic cables has won it both condemnation and praise.
Mr Obama’s call to Mr Erdogan could be seen as an effort to soothe ruffled feathers in Turkey – a key regional US ally – where officials including the prime minister have railed against some of the information divulged by the documents.
But Spanish online supporters of Assange called for worldwide demonstrations to press for his release from a London jail, where he is awaiting possible extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations.
The Spanish website Free Wikileaks urged rallies in eight Spanish cities, including Madrid and Barcelona. Similar demonstrations were planned in Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Bogota and Lima.
In a manifesto entitled “For freedom, Say No to State Terrorism,” it demanded Assange’s release and “restoration of the WikiLeaks domain.”
“Given that no one has proved that Assange is guilty of the offences he is accused of and that Wikileaks is not implicated in any of those,” the website also urged that credit card giants Visa and Mastercard rescind their decisions to cut off payments from the website’s supporters.
Mr Assange is due to appear in a London court for a second time on Tuesday after being arrested on a warrant issued by Sweden. Prosecutors there want to question him about two women’s allegations of rape and sexual molestation.
WikiLeaks insists the allegations are a politically motivated attempt to smear Mr Assange in retaliation for the leak of 250,000 confidential US documents, believed to have been passed to WikiLeaks by a US Army private.
Mr Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, has been transferred from the main section of Wandsworth prison to an isolation unit, according to Jennifer Robinson, one of his legal team.