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This message in assist of Julian Assange was noticed on a van in London in September 2020.

Leon Neal/Getty Images

A cross-party group of 24 British members of Parliament wrote to President Joe Biden on Friday asking him to drop all charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Dropping the charges could be “an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe,” they mentioned.

Together, the lawmakers identified that whereas Biden was vice chairman, he performed an vital position in selecting not to prosecute Assange over WikiLeaks’ publication of categorized paperwork relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, in addition to the circumstances in Guantanamo Bay. In spite of this, they added, Biden — who’s within the UK attending the G7 summit — has not chosen to drop the charges introduced against Assange throughout Donald Trump’s presidency.

“The case against Mr. Assange also undermines public confidence in our legal systems,” the lawmakers wrote within the open letter. “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.”

Representatives for the White House did not instantly reply to a request for remark. A consultant from the Department of Justice declined to remark.

Assange is needed within the US on espionage charges and faces an 18-count indictment accusing him of conspiring to hack army databases to publish categorized details about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If convicted, he might be handed a 175-year jail sentence, though the US authorities has mentioned he would seemingly face a sentence of between 4 and 6 years.

In January, a decide within the UK blocked the US try to extradite Assange on the premise of his psychological well being. The decide was apprehensive that Assange could be seemingly to attempt to kill himself if subjected to the US jail system.

As a end result, Assange, who left the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in April 2019 after residing there for seven years, is now dealing with a 3rd consecutive 12 months in Belmarsh High-Security Prison. For 50 weeks, he was serving a sentence for skipping bail, however ever since he is been awaiting information of whether or not the US will drop charges against him. Assange’s legal professionals are preventing to have him launched.

“It’s a continuing stain on the reputation of this country that Julian Assange remains in Belmarsh prison,” mentioned one of many signatories, John McDonnell MP, throughout a parliamentary debate on Thursday. “There are no justifiable grounds for keeping imprisoned a journalist who had the courage to expose war crimes and abuse of human rights.”

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