By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) - The US administration on Monday was urged to drop all charges against co-founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange.
Speaking at a news conference in London, alongside WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and Assange’s partner Stella Moris, Rebecca Vincent from media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said it is now a good chance for US President Joe Biden to “distance himself” from his predecessor’s policies.
The presser came only a couple of days before an appeal from the US administration against the decision of a UK court to reject the extradition of Assange.
Speaking to a full of journalists, Assange’s partner Stella Moris said British authorities should also be “scrutinized” because it looks like they were aware of the reported plans by US intelligence services, referring to recent reports that the US intelligence services had plans to kidnap or even assassinate her partner.
Moris said the appeal case should be the end of long suffering by Assange.
Responding to a question, Moris also said Assange, if freed, may prefer to live somewhere safe and did not rule out Australia or the UK, adding that those countries should have done more for Assange.
Assange will face 18 counts of hacking the US government computers and violating the espionage law if he is extradited to the US and a potential prison sentence of 175 years; depending on the appeal.
The appeal hearing will start at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday.
The US is accusing Assange of espionage after WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of pages of government documents, emails, and other communications, including the US troops’ war crimes in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars in 2010 and 2011.
Prosecutors argued previously that Assange assisted defense analyst Chelsea Manning, but the 49-year-old WikiLeaks co-founder denied the allegations.
He was dragged out of Ecuador’s embassy building in London in 2019, where he took refuge for more than seven years.
The British police said he was arrested for skipping his bail in 2012 and on behalf of the US due to an extradition warrant.
Later, he was found guilty of breaking his bail terms in 2012 after failing to surrender to security services by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court and given a 50-week prison term.
But Assange was not released from custody due to “substantial grounds” that he would abscond.