WikiLeaks announced a worldwide protest to take place in at least eight cities around the world, according to a tweet posted Friday. Attendees will protest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the US.
According to the tweet, the main event will take place in London, near Belmarsh prison, where Assange is being held.
Protests will also take place in New York City, Denver and San Francisco, as well as in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Toronto.
Earlier this year, Ecuador revoked Assange’s asylum and the WikiLeaks founder was forcibly dragged out of the embassy where he had lived in isolation for several years. He was put in Belmarsh prison over conviction of a bail violation.
On 22 September, WikiLeaks announced that his sentence had ended, but Assange was not released from prison. The organization asserted that the publisher is being held “solely on behalf of the United States,” who is demanding his extradition.
According to a WikiLeaks press release, Assange, an Australian national, is facing 18 charges in the US, which could see him locked up for 175 years, “for publishing information in the public interest.”
Judge Baraitser reportedly told Assange that his status had been changed from “serving prisoner to person pending extradition.”
He is reportedly being held in solitary confinement where he experiences psychological torture, according to Wikileaks.
WikiLeaks is warning that the charges set against Assange are the first of their kind against a journalist in US history, and, if the extradition request is granted, it will set a “dangerous precedent for the global application of US state secrecy laws.”
“Such an extradition would effectively grant permission for the Trump administration to dictate what can and cannot be published outside of its borders,” the organization said.
Assange will reportedly remain in Belmarsh for several more months, and an extradition hearing is scheduled for February 2020.
In 2010, Assange obtained and published a series of US leaks of information provided by former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning that detailed US military wrongdoings and war crimes in the Middle East. The US government launched a criminal investigation against WikiLeaks and Assange on the basis of "unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defence".