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2023-05-07 at 16:32 #403592Nat QuinnKeymaster
Sun 07 May 2023:
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has called for the release of jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during his trip to London. The left-wing leader was in the city to attend the coronation of King Charles III.
Assange is currently locked up in the Belmarsh Prison, located in southeast London. Lula has been one of the few prominent voices batting for the release of the whistleblower.
“It is an embarrassment that a journalist who denounced trickery by one state against another is arrested, condemned to die in jail and we do nothing to free him. It’s a crazy thing,” Lula told reporters.
“We talk about freedom of expression; the guy is in prison because he denounced wrongdoing. And the press doesn’t do anything in defence of this journalist. I can’t understand it.”
Lula’s statement came after Assange sent a letter to King Charles requesting him to visit the UK prison where he has been imprisoned for more than four years.
In the letter, Assange imbibed a satirical tone and took digs at the Tories for attempting to implement the largest increase in jail capacity in more than a century as well as the “culinary delights” of dining on two pounds per day.
“As a political prisoner, held at your Majesty’s pleasure on behalf of an embarrassed foreign sovereign, I am honoured to reside within the walls of this world-class institution,” Assange wrote in the letter.
“On the coronation of my liege, I thought it only fitting to extend a heartfelt invitation to you to commemorate this momentous occasion by visiting your very own kingdom within a kingdom: his majesty’s prison Belmarsh,” he added.
It has been over 13 years since Assange-led Wikileaks revealed the classified documents in 2010 which exposed the US government. The documents included classified diplomatic cables and military papers relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Assange remains in custody in the UK as of May 2023. Legal proceedings are underway in the case. The then-UK Home Secretary Priti Patel on 17 June 2022 approved the extradition. But on 1 July 2022, Assange formally appealed against it.
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