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Hizballah Head Is First Guest On Assange Talk Show

  • RFE/RL

Hizballah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech in southern Beirut in December 2011

Hizballah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech in southern Beirut in December 2011

The mystery first guest on the new television talk show hosted by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

Assange said it was Nasrallah's first interview with Western media since 2006.

"I want to know: why is he called a freedom fighter by millions and at the same time a terrorist by millions of others?" Assange said.

"This is his first interview in the West since the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war. His party, Hizballah, is a member of the Lebanese government."

Nasrallah, who is considered a terrorist by Israel and the United States, spoke via computer link from Beirut in the interview.

Assange conducted the interview from an undisclosed location in the United Kingdom, where he is under strict bail conditions and fighting extradition to Sweden, where he faces sex-crime allegations that he denies.

Assange has been condemned by the U.S. government for releasing thousands of leaked secret U.S. diplomatic and military messages through the WikiLeaks pro-transparency website.

The program, "The World Tomorrow," is being shown on the Russia's RT English-language news channel, formerly known as Russia Today.

Assange has said that guests to be featured on the show have told him things "they could not say on a mainstream TV network."

Nasrallah rarely appears in public, saying he fears being assassinated by Israel.

Speaking with Assange, Nasrallah said Hizballah was promoting dialogue in Syria, while the United States and Israel sought "a civil war."

He said the Syrian opposition had "killed very many civilians" and had rejected dialogue with the government.

He added that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had "served the Palestinian cause very well" and "hasn't backed down in the face of Israeli and American pressure."

With reporting by AFP and AP

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