Members of Parliament (MPs) from several UK parties have asked President Biden to drop the charges against Julian Assange which have caused him to be holed up in various locations over the last decade. The request was made in the form of a letter and signed by 24 MPs from the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Green Party, and the Scottish National Party. The official Wikileaks account on Twitter posted the letter in full.
Cross party group of 24 UK parliamentarians call for President Biden to drop the prosecution of Julian Assange, 'an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe' #FreeAssangeNOW #G7 pic.twitter.com/fJIAdJfHpE— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 11, 2021
In the letter, the MPs said that it was hypocritical of Western governments to call for greater press freedom around the world, while at the same time holding Julian Assange who worked with The Guardian and New York Times newspapers to publish leaked U.S. government documents that Wikileaks had been provided with.
In the letter, the MPs write:
“The case against Mr. Assange weakens the right to publish important information that the government finds uncomfortable. Indeed, the value is central to a free and open society. The case against Mr. Assange also undermines public confidence in our legal systems. Our countries are also increasingly confronted with the contradiction of advocating for press freedom abroad while holding Mr. Assange for years in the UK’s most notorious prison at the request of the US government.”
In 2019, the U.S. government unsealed an indictment against Julian Assange which said he was charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. He is currently being held at Belmarsh Prison in London and last year was denied bail after citing the coronavirus as District Judge Vanessa Baraitser believed he could break the bail conditions.