US ‘considering’ dropping charges against Julian Assange, Biden says

US ‘considering’ dropping charges against Julian Assange, Biden says

The United States is “considering” dropping charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Joe Biden has said.

This follows a request from Australia, where Mr. Assange is originally from. The country’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, supported a motion in February calling for his return to Australia.

Asked on Wednesday at the White House about this request, the American president replied: “We are considering it.”

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

The 52-year-old faces prosecution in the United States for alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information.

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

On Thursday it will be five years since Mr Assange was taken to Belmarsh prison in London, after being dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy where he was staying.

Julien Assange

During two-day court hearing Earlier this year, Mr. Assange’s lawyers sought permission to appeal against his extradition to the United States.

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

A new hearing in this case is expected to take place in May.

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“It’s not safe to send Julian to the United States”

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

In a ruling in January 2021, then-District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Mr Assange should not be sent to the United States, citing a real and “oppressive” risk of suicide, while ruling against him on all other questions.

Learn more:
Why is Assange in court again?
Assange “created a serious risk” for US agents

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Later that year, US authorities won a High Court case to overturn the blockade, paving the way for his extradition.

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


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