Trump’s forgiveness of Julian Assange “would secure the president’s legacy as a defender of free speech” – Nobel Laureates

The outgoing president is under pressure to stop the prosecution of Assange for the leak of US military cables and classified documents ten years ago.

Supporters of Assange say he is being persecuted as a journalist, claiming the case against him poses a threat to the protection of First Amendment free speech in the US Constitution.

In his fight against being sent to America for trial, Assange has argued that his extradition should be blocked because the case against him is being politically led by Trump and his allies.

But the activist now expects the Republican president to use a pardon to stop the case in its tracks.

Northern Irish peace activist Mairead Maguire, human rights activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, feminist activist Rigoberta Menchú, Iranian political activist Shirin Ebadi and Austrian novelist Peter Handke have now signed a letter to Trump supporting the cause of Assange.

“We are writing to ask you to put a decisive seal on your presidential legacy by pardoning Julian Assange or stopping his extradition,” they said.

“Assange fought for truth and justice. His work with WikiLeaks paved the way for accountability in the media and exposed corruption, violations of civil liberties in the United States and around the world, and the real cost of war.

The five Nobel Laureates claim that the case against Assange “threatens the constitutional protections dear to Americans”, suggesting to Trump: “By offering a pardon, to end the prosecution of Assange, your presidency will be remembered for having saved First Amendment Protections for All Americans.

Assange is currently being held in Belmarsh Maximum Security HMP pending the outcome of his extradition trial.

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He denies the hacking allegations surrounding the publication of the documents and cables in 2010 and 2011, which concerned the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

The US case is that Assange’s activities violated espionage law, and he is accused of endangering the lives of military sources.

But he maintains that the disclosure of the information was in the public interest and disputes suggestions that he was responsible for identifying sources.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser is due to rule on Assange’s extradition to Old Bailey on January 4 next year.


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Kevin E. Boling

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