WikiLeaks & Pamela Anderson make last ditch pardon pleas ahead of judge’s ruling on Assange extradition to US

WikiLeaks & Pamela Anderson make last ditch pardon pleas ahead of judge’s ruling on Assange extradition to US
Fecha de publicación: 
3 January 2021
Imagen principal: 

Pamela Anderson leaves Belmarsh Prison in south-east London, after visiting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in May 2019. © Gareth Fuller/PA via AP

Baywatch icon Pamela Anderson has joined WikiLeaks in making an 11th hour plea for the United States to drop charges against Julian Assange ahead of a judge’s ruling on whether he will be extradited from the UK.

The WikiLeaks co-founder is set to appear at England’s Central Criminal Court on Monday, where District Judge Vanessa Baraitser will deliver her judgment on whether he should be extradited to the US to face charges of violating the 1917 Espionage Act.

If convicted in the US, the 49-year-old could be hit with a 175-year prison sentence due to WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to US wars in the Middle East, as well as diplomatic cables.

Bombshell actress Anderson has been a vocal supporter of Assange for several years and the 53-year-old made an impassioned, last-ditch plea seeking a presidential pardon for the Australian.

“Julian is being charged with journalism. Documents that have exposed war crimes and human rights abuses. Now the US wants to punish him for exposing crimes,” she told the New York Post.

“This will set a precedent where any US journalist can be charged and sent to any country that requests their extradition… And don’t think ‘it won’t happen to me,’ because it absolutely could, and countries will use it to silence whatever they don’t like the sound of,” she added.

The comments were echoed by WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson, who said “The mere fact that this case has made it to court let alone gone on this long is a historic, large-scale attack on freedom of speech.”

Anderson met Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2014 after being introduced to him by fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

She visited him multiple times during his seven-year exile in the embassy before he was handed over to British police by the Ecuadorian authorities. She was also reportedly Assange’s first visitor, outside of his legal team, when he was moved to Belmarsh Prison in southeast London.

“It’s madness. He is… crammed in amongst murderers in a prison that is rife with Covid,” she said of the conditions Assange is facing.

“It’s the middle of winter and it’s freezing in there and his winter clothes haven’t been delivered. The whole thing is a medieval madness.”

Supporters have been vocal in urging US President Donald Trump to pardon Assange before the end of his presidency.

“The US government should listen to the groundswell of support coming from the mainstream media editorials, NGOs around the world such as Amnesty and Reporters Without Borders and the United Nations who are all calling for these charges to be dropped,” Hrafnsson said.

“This is a fight that affects each and every person’s right to know and is being fought collectively,” he added.

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