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Lula urges UK authorities not to extradite Assange

Monday, May 20th 2024 - 10:52 UTC
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Assange's possible extradition to the United States is to be decided upon Monday in London Assange's possible extradition to the United States is to be decided upon Monday in London

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called on British magistrates not to grant WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition to the United States, which is to be decided upon in London on Monday, Agencia Brasil reported.

The South American leader thus spoke in favor of the Australian journalist facing espionage charges in the United States and claimed Assange should have been rewarded for revealing “secrets of the powerful” instead of being imprisoned: “I hope that the persecution of Assange ends and he gets back the freedom he deserves as soon as possible.”

Assange faces 18 charges under the US Espionage Act. If convicted, he could face up to 175 years in prison. He is accused of having leaked 250,000 classified military and diplomatic documents that revealed war crimes and human rights abuses in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The US authorities want to convict Assange because his actions have damaged US national security by endangering the lives of US agents. His possible extradition has been criticized by journalists' organizations and human rights agencies.

“The politically motivated charges represent an unprecedented attack on press freedom and the public's right to information - seeking to criminalize basic journalistic activity,” says the FreeAssange campaign, led by the journalist's wife, Stella Assange.

Amnesty International considers the journalist's extradition to be a “devastating” attack on press freedom. “The publication of content in the public interest is a cornerstone of media freedom. Extraditing Julian Assange to face espionage allegations for publishing classified information would set a dangerous precedent and leave many journalists apprehensive and insecure around the world,” said Amnesty's Secretary General Agnés Callamard.

The extradition was also criticized by the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, who even called on the US to drop the charges against Assange. “The case is a huge scandal and represents the failure of the Western rule of law. If Julian Assange is convicted, it will be a death sentence for press freedom,” he said.

(Source: Agencia Brasil)

Categories: Politics, Brazil, International.

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