05:48 GMT15 May 2021
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    LONDON (Sputnik) - WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson on Friday expressed concerns over US President Joe Biden's reluctance to drop the Trump administration's policy of pursuing charges against Julian Assange.

    "I am seriously concerned that we have not received any signal from the Biden administration that they will do the right thing and drop the case against Julian. This just doesn't make any sense that the Biden-Harris administration will not take the same stands as the Obama-Biden administration ... To do nothing and to say 'well we are not going to politicize the Department of Justice, is absolutely wrong," Hrafnsson said at a press briefing ahead of World Press Freedom Day.

    According to the Icelandic investigative journalist, there needs to be a political decision to stop the politically motivated prosecution of Assange.

    Hrafnsson went on to compare the WikiLeaks founder with Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny, who is serving a 2.5-year sentence on fraud charges, noting that this comparison is not in the UK's favor.

    "Think about the fact that we were all able to see Navalny in court. Navalny was able to speak in court in Russia. Observers were able to be in the courtroom ... Julian was not allowed to speak, there were no cameras allowed in the courtroom, and observers had extreme difficulty to be present in the courtroom. This is not a favorable comparison towards the United Kingdom," the journalist noted.

    Assange was arrested in London on April 11, 2019, and sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for jumping bail back in 2012, when he took refuge inside the Ecuadorean embassy in the UK capital to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was facing sexual assault charges that were later dropped by the Swedish court.

    This is a court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Julian Assange appearing at the Old Bailey in London for the ruling in his extradition case, in London, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. A British judge has rejected the United States’ request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face espionage charges, saying it would be “oppressive” because of his mental health. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Assange was likely to kill himself if sent to the U.S. The U.S. government said it would appeal the decision.  (Elizabeth Cook/PA via AP)
    Elizabeth Cook
    This is a court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Julian Assange appearing at the Old Bailey in London for the ruling in his extradition case, in London, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. A British judge has rejected the United States’ request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face espionage charges, saying it would be “oppressive” because of his mental health. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Assange was likely to kill himself if sent to the U.S. The U.S. government said it would appeal the decision. (Elizabeth Cook/PA via AP)

    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 in solitary confinement inside a top security American prison if convicted in the US.

    In January, UK district judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled not to extradite Assange to the United States, citing health reasons and the risk of suicide in the US prison system, but decided that he must wait in prison for the outcome of an appeal filed by US prosecutors.

    Tags:
    extradition, Donald Trump, Julian Assange, Joe Biden, US, UK, Wikileaks
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