14:43 GMT16 June 2021
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    GENEVA (Sputnik) - A group of activists led by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer and Geneva Mayor Frederique Perler have called for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and erected a temporary monument to three famous American whistleblowers ahead of the Russia-US summit in the Swiss city, a Sputnik corespondent reported.

    The campaign "Geneva Call for the Release of Assange" said the move is driven by "the humanitarian values rooted in Geneva, City of Peace and Human Rights". Melzer, in turn, reaffirmed that the conditions of Assange's incarceration in a high-security London prison can be regarded as psychological torture and cruel treatment.

    The group aims to draw US President Joe Biden's attention to their demands when he arrives in Geneva for his meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on 16 June.

    ​They urge the UK to refuse Assange's extradition to the US and insist that the American authorities withdraw all charges against the WikiLeaks founder. Switzerland, the activists insist, should provide asylum to Assange and ensure his safety from political persecution.

    The makeshift monument "AnythingToSay" is a tribute not only to Assange but also Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. It consists of four chairs, three of which are occupied by the US whistleblowers. Commenting on the statue, its sculptor Davide Dormino hoped the American and Russian leaders might take a photo on the free chair as a sign of support for freedom of speech.

    The whistleblower is wanted by the US Justice Department on espionage and computer fraud charges after WikiLeaks published thousands of secret files and classified information that shed light on war crimes committed by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He faces up to 175 years if convicted in the US.

    Tags:
    US, Russia, Julian Assange, Geneva
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