Latin American Leaders Call for Pardon and Release of Julian Assange from his “Unjust Imprisonment”

“Many people in Europe are following with admiration what is now happening in [Latin America],” said Wikileaks’ editor-in-chief and close confidant of Assange. “When looking at the political landscape in Europe all we have are dark forces.”

Brazil’s President Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (aka Lula) has called for Julian Assange to be released from his “unjust imprisonment.” As readers know, Assange remains behind bars in Britain’s high-security Belmarsh prison, where he awaits extradition to the US on charges of espionage after Wikileaks revealed war crimes committed by Washington in Iraq and Afghanistan. The British Supreme Court is currently deciding whether or not to accept Assange’s last remaining appeal against extradition to the US, where a 175-year sentence awaits him.

Following a meeting on Tuesday with Kristinn Hrafnsson, the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, and Joseph Farrell, a journalist and Wikileaks ambassador, Lula’s official twitter account tweeted:

“They informed me about Julian Assange’s health situation and the fight for his release. I asked him to send him my solidarity. May Assange be released from his unjust imprisonment.”

Lula considers the persecution of Assange a “threat to the freedom of press throughout the world,” Hrafnsson told reporters after the meeting.

A Whistle-Stop Tour

Hrafnsson and Farrell are making a whistle-stop tour of Latin America to drum up support for Assange’s release, not only among national leaders but also civil society groups, trade unions, federations and journalist guilds. Prior to meeting Lula, they visited Colombia where they met with the recently elected left-wing President Gustavo Petro and his Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva. Following the meeting the Spanish newspaper Publico asked Hrafnsson, himself an award-winning journalist in his native Iceland, to sum up the outcome of the meeting, to which Hrafnsson replied: “Total support for Assange in Colombia.”

“The meeting with the president and Minister Leyva exceeded my expectations,” Hrafnsson said. “I understand that it is not so easy to take a position that supports Julian Assange. We have said that many leaders in Europe have been reticent on the issue and have not been able to speak out.”

Petro himself tweeted out a message of support for Assange after meeting with Hrafnsson and Farrell:

Which translates as:

I met with Wikikeaks’ spokespersons, to support the global fight for the release of journalist Julian Assange.

I, along with other Latin American presidents, will ask President Biden not to charge a journalist just for telling the truth.

In Colombia, a number of journalists asked the Wikileaks delegates why, as the clock ticks down on Assange’s extradition, they had chosen to tour Latin America. After all, they said, one of Assange’s biggest mistakes was to seek asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June 2012. At that time, Ecuador’s then-president Rafael was happy to grant the request. But when Correa handed the reins of power to his handpicked successor, Lenin Moreno, Moreno did not hesitate to hand Assange over to British security forces…

Read the full article on Naked Capitalism

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