US ‘considering’ dropping Julian Assange prosecution, Biden says

todayApril 10, 2024

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US ‘considering’ dropping Julian Assange prosecution, Biden says

The US is “considering” dropping its prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Joe Biden has said.

It comes following a request from Australia, where Mr Assange is originally from. The country’s prime minister Anthony Albanese backed a motion in February calling for his return to Australia.

When asked about the request by reporters at the White House on Wednesday, the US president said: “We’re considering it”.

Mr Assange’s lawyer described the comments as “encouraging”.

The 52-year-old faces prosecution in the US over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information.

This followed the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Thursday will mark five years since Mr Assange was taken to Belmarsh prison in London, having been dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy where he had been staying.

The High Court will hear Julian Assange's final appeal against being sent to the US

Julian Assange

During a two-day court hearing earlier this year, lawyers for Mr Assange asked for permission to bring an appeal against his extradition to the US.

Judges Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson dismissed most of his arguments, but ruled he could not immediately be extradited unless the US gave further assurances about what will happen to him.

A further hearing in the case is due to be held in May.

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‘It’s not safe to send Julian to US’

Mr Assange’s wife Stella called the judges’ decision to delay their ruling “utterly bizarre” and later told Sky News’ The World with Yalda Hakim her and her husband’s greatest fear is his death.

In a January 2021 ruling, then district judge Vanessa Baraitser said Mr Assange should not be sent to the US, citing a real and “oppressive” risk of suicide, while ruling against him on all other issues.

Read more:
Why is Assange in court again?
Assange ‘created grave risk’ to US agents’

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Later that year, US authorities won their High Court bid to overturn this block, paving the way towards his extradition.

Events will be held around the world on Thursday as Mr Assange’s family and supporters continue to campaign for his release.

Written by: Newsroom

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