Robert F Kennedy Jr hails Julian Assange's release, calls him a ‘generational hero’ - Hindustan Times
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Robert F Kennedy Jr hails Julian Assange's release, calls him a ‘generational hero’

Jun 25, 2024 06:56 AM IST

Robert F Kennedy Jr. said that Julian Assange's having to plead guilty is “bad news” because he is a “generational hero.”

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has expressed concerns about the plea deal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has had to agree to, calling it “bad news” and a “big blow to freedom of the press.”

Robert F Kennedy Jr.'s remarks on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
Robert F Kennedy Jr.'s remarks on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Assange has agreed to plead guilty to a single criminal count of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified U.S. national defense documents, according to court filings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands.

Kennedy, while expressing his relief over Assange's release, posted on X (formerly Twitter): “I am overjoyed. He's a generational hero.”

Kennedy was quick to point out the broader implications of Assange's guilty plea. He noted that this plea indicates that “the US security state succeeded in criminalizing journalism and extending their jurisdiction globally to non-citizens.”

The plea deal comes after years of legal battles and a prolonged period of detention for the WikiLeaks founder.

ALSO READ| WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is free, ending standoff with the US

Assange's plea deal is ‘big blow to freedom of the press’

Kennedy drew attention to Assange's health issues, which have been the main reason behind his decision to accept the plea deal. According to Kennedy, Assange's deteriorating health meant that remaining in prison could have led to his death, citing, “Julian had to take this. He has heart problems and he would have died in prison.”

While addressing the fact that Assange had to take the deal under the pressure, Kennedy stressed that the U.S. government, by pushing for this plea deal, has “imposed a horrifying precedent” for the future of press freedom.

The 70-year-old presidential hopeful argued that the U.S. has now extended its legal reach to foreign journalists, criminalizing actions that are considered standard practice in investigative journalism and poses a “big blow to freedom of the press.”

RFK Jr demands freedom for another two whistleblower

Following this post, the independent candidate posted another Tweet asking, “The USG should build a monument to Assange in Washington as a civics lesson for the American public about the importance of free speech.”

ALSO READ| WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange strikes plea deal with US, walks out of prison

Following the chilling “precedent” that could deter journalists from pursuing critical reporting, especially when it involves state secrets or whistleblowers. Kennedy voices for the release of another two whistleblowers, Edward Snowden and Ross Ulbrich.

“Free Edward Snowden to demonstrate our commitment to government transparency. Free Ross Ulbricht to show our commitment to transactional freedom,” he posted.

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