Australian and British MPs call for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Australian and British MPs call for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

More than eighty Australian and British parliamentarians called on the U.S. attorney general, Merrick B. Garland, to end the extradition proceedings against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, on Tuesday, the fourth anniversary of his imprisonment in the United Kingdom.

“We implore you to drop the extradition and allow Mr. Assange to return home.” stresses the letter signed by 48 Australian lawmakers, ruling and opposition.who insist that the 51-year-old Australian published “information with evidence” on “crimes against humanity, corruption and human rights abuses” perpetrated by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Assange, pending resolution of extradition process to the U.S. to stand trial for 18 crimes of espionage and computer intrusion., has been in Belmarsh high security prison, southeast of London, since April 11, 2019, since Ecuador withdrew his political asylum and expelled him from its embassy in the British capital.

The Australian parliamentarians noted that Assange “has been effectively imprisoned for well over a decade” and suggested that be given similar treatment to that of former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.who “leaked classified information” to WikiLeaks, and was released when her sentence was commuted to 35 years in prison in 2017.

File image of Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy.

“If the extradition request is approved, Australians will witness the deportation of one of our citizens from one AUKUS partner to another, our closest strategic ally,” the letter stresses, alluding to the recent security pact linking Washington, Canberra and London.

Likewise, more than thirty British lawmakers recalled that 18 charges hanging over Assange, with a penalty of up to 175 years in prisonwould have a “chilling impact” on the practice of journalism and would set “a dangerous precedent” for other journalists and media organizations.

“It would also undermine America’s reputation for freedom of expression and the rule of law,” the British parliamentarians remarked.

“Persecution” of Assange and WikiLeaks.

Assange, who claims that the legal actions against him respond to a political persecution by the United States for the uncovering of WikiLeaks, is pending at any time a decision by the High Court in London on whether the journalist can appeal the June 2022 decision by the British Home Office to authorize his rendition to Washington.

Assange was initially arrested in 2010, shortly after WikiLeaks exposed alleged U.S. war crimes in Iraq and the behest of Sweden, which wanted to question him for alleged sex crimes for which he was never charged, in a case that was eventually dropped.

Kayleigh Williams