Dozens of parliamentarians from six parties as well as independent MPs and Lords in the UK have called on the US attorney general to drop extradition proceedings against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
On the fourth anniversary of Julian Assange’s imprisonment, 23 British MPs and 14 lords, wrote a letter on Tuesday, demanding Merrick Garland to close Assange’s extradition process.
Assange, an Australian citizen, is being held in the UK, where authorities authorized his extradition to the US last year. He is wanted for his alleged role in espionage and the dissemination of classified US military information.
He was dragged out of Ecuador’s embassy building in London in 2019, where he took refuge for more than seven years. If extradited to the US, Assange faces a prison sentence of up to 175 years.
Meanwhile, British parliamentarians are joined by lawmakers in the US, Australia, Mexico, and Brazil who are also writing to the US government, asking for proceedings against Assange to be dropped.
The parliamentarians warn that extradition “would clearly have a chilling impact on journalism and would set a dangerous precedent for other journalists and media organizations. It would also undermine the US reputation on freedom of expression and the rule of law.”
“Likewise, extradition is opposed by the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, and the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic,” the letter noted.
They also called upon Garland to take a stance “to uphold the First Amendment of the US Constitution” and drop the extradition proceedings to allow Assange’s return to Australia.