Donald Trump Must Urgently Pardon Julian Assange
British Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected on Jan. 4 the request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, on the grounds of his mental health, and the risk he might commit suicide in a U.S. prison. A hearing on his release on bail was set for Jan. 6. Assange’s supporters welcomed a victory; although the judge did not reject the charges of espionage brought against him by the U.S. Justice Department, and even implied he could be charged under the British Official Secrets Act as well. Lawyers for the U.S. side indicated that they would file an appeal.
All involved understand that a full pardon by President Donald Trump is the only way to put an end to Assange’s physical and mental deterioration, which caused Judge Baraitser’s surprise denial of extradition. Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, noted that this is “a day with a win for Julian Assange” but not necessarily for journalism. “Let’s be cautious in our victory celebration. As Stella said, the fight will not be over until Julian can go home and be with her and the boys,” he added referring to Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris and the couple’s young sons.