Latin American presidents throw weight behind campaign to free Julian Assange

Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent

Sun, 22 January 2023 at 3:52 pm GMT

The campaign to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being stepped up following support from the presidents of all major Latin American countries.

The politicians have sided with the Free Assange campaign in urging US president Joe Biden to drop the charges and set him free.

Assange is being held in Belmarsh prison in London as he continues to fight being extradited to the United States.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and WikiLeaks ambassador Joseph Farrell have held a series of meetings in recent weeks in Latin American countries including Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina.

The Mexican president raised the issue of Julian Assange at a recent summit with Mr Biden, and has used his daily briefing to highlight his continuing “unjust detention”.

Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said: “Assange needs to be defended by all of us who love democracy, who love freedom of the press, freedom of trade unions, who love freedom of organisation.”

Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said: “If he (Assange) is taken to the United States and sentenced to the maximum penalty … we must begin the campaign to dismantle the Statue of Liberty.

“It is no longer a symbol of freedom.”

Alberto Fernandez, president of Argentina said: “For justice to be done, the United States needs to drop the charges against Assange and put an end to the ongoing extradition proceedings.”

A so-called night carnival will be held in London on February 11, including a rally with speeches by supporters and Assange’s wife Stella.

The event will include giant puppets, street performers, sound systems and bands.

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