- WikiLeaks is preparing to release more than a million documents, he says
- Assange says Ecuador's embassy has become his office and refuge
- "My work will not be cowed," Assange says, speaking from the embassy's balcony
WikiLeaks is preparing to release more than a million documents next year, the controversial website's founder said Thursday.
Julian Assange did not provide details about their contents but said they "affect every country in the world."
He spoke from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been holed up for more than six months. Ecuador's government granted him asylum in August, but British authorities have said they will arrest him if he leaves the premises.
"I came here in summer," Assange said. "It is winter now."
Assange said he cannot leave as long as authorities continue to investigate him.
"This building ... has become my home, my office and my refuge," he said. "Thanks to the principled stance of the Ecuadorian government and the support of its people, I am safe in this embassy to speak from this embassy."
Assange fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations that he raped one woman and sexually molested another. Assange has said he fears Sweden will transfer him to the United States, where he could face the death penalty for the work of WikiLeaks if he were charged and convicted of a crime.
He has repeatedly said the allegations in Sweden are politically motivated and tied to the work of his website, which facilitates the publication of secret documents.
Assange has not been charged in the United States, though Assange and his supporters claim a U.S. grand jury has been empanelled to consider charges against him.
"My work will not be cowed," Assange said Thursday. "But while this immoral investigation continues, and while the Australian government will not defend the journalism and publishing of WikiLeaks, I must remain here."