Assange's Only Hope Is ‘Massive Public Pressure' on British Politicians

In order to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from persecution, activists across England need to get out into the streets and pressure British politicians, Jim Kavanagh, editor of The Polemicist, told Sputnik.

"I think serious public political pressure and real street demonstration in England can be very important [for Assange's case]," Kavanagh told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Thursday. "I urge to keep the pressure up publicly and politically."

"I don't think he's going to be saved by anything else but massive public pressure," he stressed.

​Assange was sentenced in the UK on Wednesday to 50 weeks in jail for breaching bail conditions set back in 2012. At the time, the Australian sought refuge in the London-based Ecuadorian Embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over a since-closed sexual assault case and over fears of being sent to the US to face charges linked to his publication of US military intelligence documents that detailed war crimes committed by US forces. (Swedish prosecutors are presently considering reopening the case after one of the women requested for the matter to be taken up again.)

Appearing via video at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday, Assange told the court that he does "not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected many people."

Banners in support of arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are seen on the pavement in front of Westminster Magistrates Court in London - Sputnik International
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UK officials will ultimately decide whether or not to extradite Assange to the so-called "Land of the Free," where he faces a charge of conspiring with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning "to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer." The extradition case has been adjourned until May 30.

Manning has been in jail for more than a month after having been found in contempt of court for refusing to testify before a grand jury about her 2010 disclosures of military and diplomatic secrets to Assange. Manning was sentenced to 35 years after having been found guilty by a court martial of 22 charges relating to her disclosures. She served seven years behind bars before her sentence was commuted by former US President Barack Obama.

Kavanagh told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that "constant pressure" needs to be placed on left-leaning politicians in England.

"The British liberals… will have to be made to be embarrassed about sending [Assange] back to the United States, where more charges are going to be dumped on him," he said. "The pressure has to be put on them and on the British justice system, and the European justice system."

Assange Supporters at London's Westminster Court - Sputnik International
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He went on to note that media outlets were hanging Assange out to dry by avoiding the main reason Washington is dead set on destroying the publisher. "He's being sought for extradition and prosecution in the United states for revealing true facts about American war crimes, and people are trying to pretend it's about something else," Kavanagh told Becker.

Assange's near seven-year stay at the embassy came to a close on April 11, after the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum status, which then allowed UK police to remove him from the grounds and take him into custody. He has since been held in Belmarsh Prison in East London.

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