Julian Assange’s fianceé urges Joe Biden to ‘break with Trump’s legacy’ and drop charges
- Concerns for Julian Assange’s well-being should he be extradited has mounted since antivirus mogul John McAfee died by apparent suicide in a prison in Barcelona
Stella Moris, the fiancé of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, urged US President Joe Biden to break with Donald Trump’s legacy and drop the extradition case against him.
"If Biden really wants to break with the Trump legacy, then he has to drop the case," Moris told Reuters in an interview.
Assange, who is currently being held at the British high security prison HMP Belmarsh, was initially convicted by the Obama administration for conspiring to hack into US military databases for acquiring information on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, which was later published in WikiLeaks in 2010.
The Obama administration in which Biden served as the vice president had decided not to seek his extradition citing the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The Trump administration, however, filed several charges against Assange, and in 2019, charges against him were expanded to include espionage, punishable by a total of 175 years in prison. As of February, the US Justice Department continued to seek his extradition from the UK.
Moris, who is a lawyer by profession, stated that Biden has to stop prosecuting Assange if the US wants to be known for defending global press freedom.
"They can't maintain this prosecution against Julian while saying that they defend a global press freedom." Moris told Reuters
Moris has also urged the UK government to press the Biden administration to drop its call for extradition, stating that Assange would not survive being imprisoned in the US. "I think there's no doubt that Julian wouldn't survive an extradition,"
Moris and Assange met during his time at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he was granted asylum for almost seven years. They share two children together. After Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno withdrew his country’s support Assange was arrested by the London Metropolitan Police in 2019 and he has been detained at Belmarsh ever since.
Concerns for Assange’s well-being should he be extradited has mounted since antivirus mogul John McAfee died by apparent suicide in a prison in Barcelona. McAfee is said to have taken the extreme step following news of his extradition to the US on tax evasion charges.
President Biden had referred to Assange as a “high-tech terrorist” in 2010, during his tenure as the vice president in the Obama administration. He had also accused WikiLeaks of damaging foreign relations with the US.