Journalists demand release of Assange from UK prison
A global coalition of journalists, editors, and publishers demands the Wikileaks founder be released.
A global alliance of journalists, editors, and publishers requested on Wednesday that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange be freed from a UK prison immediately and that all accusations against him be abandoned.
Fifteen international journalist and publisher unions and organizations convened in Geneva for a "call to free Julian Assange in the name of press freedom."
Dominique Pradalie, head of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which has 600,000 members across 140 countries said, "We are demanding that Julian Assange be freed, returned to his family, and finally permitted to live a normal life."
During the event, Pradalie stated that "if Julian Assange is freed today, they will still have stolen 10 years of his life."
The request came after the British government accepted Assange's extradition to the United States last week.
On Tuesday, Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador considered that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been treated “very unfairly”, affirming that Mexico is willing to receive him.
The Mexican President told reporters that he would touch on Assange’s case during his July meeting with US President Joe Biden, and ask the latter to drop charges against the Australian journalist.
Lopez Obrador considered that “Julian Assange is the best journalist of our time in the world and he has been treated very unfairly, worse than a criminal."
Last Friday, supporters of Julian Assange pledged to resist his extradition to the US after Britain granted a US request for the Wikileaks founder to stand trial for leaking classified military data.
Stella Morris, the wife of Assange, said, "We're going to fight this. We're going to use every appeal avenue."
Assange's lawyer Jen Robinson urged the US President to drop the charges and said they would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.
Flagrant violation of human rights
The event on Wednesday slammed the British decision as a "flagrant violation of human rights and a showing of total contempt for freedom of the press".
The chairman of the Swiss Press Club, which is organizing the event, Pierre Ruetschi, warned that "democracy is being taken hostage." "This attempt at criminalizing journalism is a serious threat."
Tim Dawson, of the National Union of Journalists of Britain and Ireland, agreed.
"If Julian Assange can be threatened with prosecution as a spy, what might that mean for other journalists?" he asked.
Edgar Block, the co-president of the Swiss journalist association Impressum expressed that "Assange revealed war crimes, human rights violations, and all the information revealed is of course of public interest."
"If he is extradited and condemned today, other journalists will be condemned as well."
A number of petitioners also urged Swiss authorities to expedite his release by providing him with protection from further prosecution in Switzerland.
Can Assange handle extradition?
It is worth mentioning that last year, a defense lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange argued that US promises that Assange would not be subjected to harsh prison conditions if extradited were not enough to address concerns regarding his fragile mental health and high risk of suicide.
Assange's lawyer said the Australian was "too mentally ill" to be extradited to the US in light of his trial on "espionage charges".
Read more: Assange extradition highlights human rights hypocrisy: Ex-Ambassador