The immigration law firm, Optimus Law, have learned that a cross-party group of 24 UK MPs have signed an open letter to the US President, Joe Biden, urging him to drop his administration’s attempt to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
The MPs, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MPs Diane Abbott and John McDonnell and Green MP Caroline Lucas, have taken the opportunity to write to the President while he is in the UK taking part in the G7 Summit.
They say that dropping the prosecution will be a “clarion call for freedom”.
Assange case “undermining public confidence” in UK legal systems
The letter states that the decision by the US to take a criminal case against a member of the press working in the UK has the effect of restricting the scope of permissible press activities in the UK and will set a precedent that others will exploit.
The letter argues: “The case against Mr Assange weakens the right to publish important information that the government finds uncomfortable. Indeed, this value is central to a free and open society.
“The case against Mr Assange also undermines public confidence in our legal systems. Our countries are also increasingly confronted with the contradiction of advocating for press freedom abroad while holding Mr Assange for years in the UK’s most notorious prison at the request of the US government.
“We appeal to you to drop this prosecution, an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe.”
A UK judge blocked Assange’s extradition in January, citing serious mental health concerns.
Mr Assange is currently being detained in Belmarsh prison in London while the US continues to extradite him over the activities of WikiLeaks. He faces 18 charges in the US relating to the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of 500,000 secret files detailing aspects of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
If convicted in the US, he faces a maximum sentence of 175 years in jail.
Assange’s fiancée claims he is “struggling”
Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s fiancée, has previously claimed Mr Assange is struggling in the “grim environment” of Belmarsh prison. She outlined how he is surrounded by dangerous criminals, although he spends a lot of his time in isolation. She said his health is deteriorating, and he has not seen his children since October.
John Shipton, Julian Assange’s father, is reported as saying, “The G7 meeting is based upon values, and yet they have, just a few kilometers down the road, a foremost journalist in jail.”
Wikileaks is an international nonprofit organization founded in 2006. Its purpose is to vet and publish first-source, restricted documents. WikiLeaks claims to have released over 10 million documents, but the organization has not revealed how many more documents it possesses.