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Mexico to Take Steps to Grant Assange Political Asylum, President Lopez Obrador Says

© AP Photo / Marco UgarteIn this July 27, 2020 file photo, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gives his daily, morning press conference in front of the former presidential plane that has been for sale since he took office, at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City
In this July 27, 2020 file photo, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gives his daily, morning press conference in front of the former presidential plane that has been for sale since he took office, at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City - Sputnik International
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A UK court ruled earlier in the day to block WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition to the US, where he could face up to 175 years in prison for espionage and computer fraud. The US Department of Justice has voiced its disappointment with the ruling, vowing to keep seeking his extradition.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday that Mexico could grant Julian Assange political asylum, if London agrees to release him. Speaking at a press conference, the president said he had asked the foreign minister to reach out to the UK authorities about the possible offer.

"Assange is a journalist and deserves a chance, I am in favour of pardoning him...We'll give him protection", Lopez Obrador told journalists.

Earlier in the day, UK Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled to block Assange's extradition to the United States, as the journalist's mental state would make him a suicide risk if he were handed over to the US.​

Following the announcement, the US Department of Justice said it was "disappointed" with the ruling and will continue its efforts to have the WikiLeaks founder extradited.

Assange's Extradition Trial

Assange's lengthy extradition trial, where his legal team tried to present evidence he was being indicted for political reasons, wrapped up in October.

Ms Júlia Strubell hands the 2019 Catalonia Dignity Commission award to Eric Levy of Committee to Defend Julian Assange on 11 December 2020 outside Westminster Magistrates' Court - Sputnik International
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US 'Extremely Disappointed' With UK Judge's Ruling on Assange, Vows to Keep Seeking Extradition

Assange is wanted in the US over the release of the largest trove of classified data in history. In 2010, WikiLeaks made public US diplomatic cables and documents exposing atrocities committed by American troops during military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Washington has accused Assange of spying and wants him handed over to the United States, where he could face up to 175 years in solitary confinement if he is convicted on 18 espionage and computer fraud charges for leaking the top-secret data.

Assange is currently being kept in Belmarsh Prison near the British capital, where he was taken after the Ecuadorian Embassy in London discontinued its political asylum for the journalist.

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