British singer and songwriter Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, also known as M.I.A., said that she will ask "Her Majesty the Queen" to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. M.I.A. is due to visit Buckingham Palace on 14 January to receive a Member of the British Empire (MBE) medal, for her services to music.
Speaking outside Westminster Magistrates Court on 13 January, M.I.A. told the press that the ceremony should afford her the opportunity to "take a message to the Queen about Assange".
She said it was important to her that the British monarchy and the British legal system "work together to do what is righteous" and refuse to send Assange to the US.
The British rapper explained that while she would normally be conflicted about accepting such a title it was really about her Mum who worked as a seamstress for the Royal family and along with one other person in the UK actually sows the MBE medals.
M.I.A. is one of a number of notable artists to have come to Assange's defence, along with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, rapper Lowkey, actress Pamela Anderson, and designer Vivian Westwood.
Assange remains in Belmarsh maximum security prison while he fights his extradition to the US to face charges stemming from his role in publishing classified US documents which allegedly reveal war crimes committed by US forces in Iraq.