Joe Biden says he is considering Australia’s request to drop prosecution of Wikileaks founder Assange – Times of India

Joe Biden says he is considering Australia's request to drop prosecution of Wikileaks founder Assange - Times of India

Washington: USA President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he was considering a plea. Australia to end decades of US pressure to prosecute Founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange on publishing a trove of classified US documents.
For years, Australia has called on the US to drop it. Prosecution Asked about the request Wednesday against Assange, an Australian citizen who has fought U.S. extradition efforts from a British prison, when he hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on an official visit, Biden said Said, “We’re looking into it.”
Assange has been indicted on 17 counts of espionage and one count of computer misuse for publishing classified US documents on his website about 15 years ago. US prosecutors allege that Assange, 52, encouraged and aided US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal diplomatic documents. And the military files that WikiLeaks published put lives at risk.
Australia argues there is a disconnect between the US treatment of Assange and Manning. Then-US President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s 35-year sentence to seven years, after which he was released in 2017.
Assange’s supporters say he is a journalist protected by the First Amendment who exposed wrongdoing by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan that was in the public interest. Assange’s wife Stella Assange has said the WikiLeaks founder is being “persecuted because he exposed the true cost of war in human lives.” He has said his health continues to deteriorate in prison and he fears he will die behind bars.
WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristen Harafinson responded to Biden’s comments in a statement, saying, “It is not too late for President Biden to block Julian’s extradition to the United States, which is politically motivated by his predecessor. Action was taken.”
“By dropping the charges against Julien, he will protect freedom of expression and the rights of journalists and publishers worldwide,” he said. “We urge him to end this legal process; release Julian; and recognize that journalism is not a crime.”
A British court ruled last month that Assange could not be extradited to the US on espionage charges unless US authorities guaranteed he would not be executed.

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