Roger Waters says prepared to help fund WikiLeaks, hopeful Assange might return

(This story contains strong language in paragraph 5)

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) - Musician and singer-songwriter Roger Waters says he hopes a now free Julian Assange might one day be able to resume his work at WikiLeaks if he wants to, and that he is prepared to help fund the whistleblower media organisation.

The Pink Floyd co-founder, who had long called for the release of the Australian publisher from a jail in Britain, told Reuters he had exchanged messages of "sighs of relief" with Assange's wife Stella since he arrived in Canberra last week.

Waters also visited Assange in jail last year with Stella and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

Assange landed in Australia after pleading guilty to violating U.S. espionage law in a deal that sets him free from a 14-year legal battle. Waters said Assange was now "somewhere secret" with his family.

"If he could (return to WikiLeaks) and if it's in his heart and if that's what he would want to do, I'm sure he's got the balls to do it," Waters said in an interview. "That remains to be seen."

Asked if Assange would be in a condition to do so, Waters said: "You'd have to ask Julian...but I hope so. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. But mainly, I hope...that he's going to see his boys grow up now and they can talk to their father."

Stella Assange has said it was too soon to say what her husband would do next and that he needed time to recover and "get used to freedom". Assange has not spoken publicly since being released.

WikiLeaks lists several international media organisations among its co-publishers, research partners and funders. It also says that it is a not-for-profit organisation that is funded through public donations.

Asked if he would be prepared to help fund WikiLeaks, which Assange founded in 2006, Waters said: "Of course. I mean, I can’t fund the whole thing. One has a limited war chest...I want them to encourage whistleblowers everywhere to go to them."

Reuters has reached out to WikiLeaks for comment.

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by Miral Fahmy)