Latin American presidents call for Julian Assange's release

Senior WikiLeaks chiefs have held meetings with countries including Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina

A protest by the 'Committee Against the War Milan' and the 'Committee for the Liberation of Julian Assange' in Liberty square, Milan, Italy, in July 2022. EPA
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The presidents of major Latin America countries have increased their support for the campaign to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The leaders are urging US President Joe Biden to drop the charges against Assange and set him free.

He is continuing to fight against extradition to the US and is being held at Belmarsh prison in London.

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

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador raised the issue of Assange at a recent summit with Mr Biden, and has used his daily briefing to highlight his continuing “unjust detention”.

“If he is taken to the United States and sentenced to the maximum penalty … we must begin the campaign to dismantle the Statue of Liberty," said Mr Lopez Obrador.

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“It is no longer a symbol of freedom."

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."

And 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."

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A "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.

Updated: January 22, 2023, 7:45 PM
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