martes 28 de mayo de 2024
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Biden Says He’s Considering Dropping Charges Against Julian Assange

Antiwar.com: President Biden on Wednesday said he’s considering a request from Australia to drop the charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who’s being targeted for exposing US war crimes through standard journalism.

By Dave DeCamp, News Editor of Antiwar.com

The Australian government has recently stepped up its pressure on the Biden administration to end its persecution of Assange, who is an Australian citizen. When asked about the Australian request, Biden said, “We’re considering it.”

The US Department of Justice first indicted Assange under the Espionage Act during the Trump administration in 2019, leading to his arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and imprisonment in Belmarsh Prison, where he is still being held today.

Assange faces 17 counts of espionage and one charge of conspiracy to commit a computer intrusion for publishing documents leaked to WikiLeaks by former Army Private Chelsea Manning in 2010.

Publishing classified documents obtained by a source is a standard journalistic practice, and if Assange is convicted, it would set a grave precedent for press freedom in the US and around the world.

Biden’s comments came after London’s High Court ruled that Assange might have a chance at a limited appeal of the British Home Secretary’s decision to extradite him to the US. But the US government has a chance to avoid the appeal if it offers “assurances” that satisfy the court.

   The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the US might be seeking a plea deal for Assange, although his legal team denied that the US government was looking for anything less than the full charge.

A plea deal could still set a bad precedent if it criminalizes the journalist-source relationship.    WikiLeaks has been asking Americans to put pressure on the Biden administration to stop its pursuit of Assange by contacting their House representatives and telling them to support H.Res.934, a bill introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) that calls for the US to drop the charges against Assange.

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