Protestors gathered outside Julian Assange’s extradition hearing, condemning the trial as a breach of press freedoms.
Outside the Westminster Magistrates Court supporters of Julian Assange protested his possible extradition to the United States, where he faces 175 years in prison for his role in the publication of classified information leaked by Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning.
One supporter who said that she had come from Australia for the hearing alleged that “terrible injustices have been wreaked upon him; he’s in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day in a maximum-security prison”.
She then called on United States President Donald Trump to “help Julian, because he is a true freedom fighter and he is a man of the truth”.
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) April 11, 2019
In an interview with Breitbart London, WikiLeaks ambassador Joseph Pharrell said that: “If he is extradited, that changes the precedent, it changes your First Amendment, it throws it under the bus and makes it absolutely irrelevant.
“If they get to extradite him for this, what is to stop Saudi Arabia from extraditing anyone from the UK who writes stories they don’t particularly like, or Russia, or North Korea extraditing a U.S. journalist for something that they have said?” Pharrell added.
“It will destroy all national security reporting, people will be terrified to report anything, it will start a blanket cloud of secrecy.”
British rapper Mathangi “M.I.A.” Arulpragasam addressed the crowd, promising to deliver the ‘Free Julian Assange’ message to the Queen of England in her upcoming meeting with Her Majesty.
Arulpragasam refused to comment to Breitbart London.
Doctors Call For Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange to Get ‘Urgent’ Treatment in UK Hospital https://t.co/tdaRxMthpW
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 25, 2019
The WikiLeaks founder is currently facing proccedings to extradite him to the United States, where he faces 18 charges, mostly under the Espionage Act, for his role in publishing classified material leaked by Chelsea Manning.
Supporters of Mr Assange decried his treatment at Belmarsh Prison, where he has been held since April when he was arrested by British police following his ouster from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he was confined for nearly seven years.
Many of the protestors outside the hearing said that freedom of the press would be in danger should Assange be extradited to the United States.
“If you don’t have freedom of the press for the harshest critics of government, you don’t really have freedom of press… it only matters when you are critical and Julian Assange has been responsible for some of the most important public interest stories that have hit the press in the last decade and more, and that’s why he’s in jail”, said John Rees, a British political activist.
President Donald Trump, who previously praised WikiLeaks for its role in uncovering corruption in the Democratic primary in 2016, distanced himself from the organisation following the arrest of Assange in April.
“I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing, I know nothing really about it – it’s not my deal in life”, he said.
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) April 12, 2019
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