Biden says US 'considering' dropping charges against Julian Assange

10 April 2024, 19:24 | Updated: 10 April 2024, 19:32

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Mr Julian Assange is being held in Belmarsh prison and is fighting his extradition in UK courts. Picture: Getty Images

By Flaminia Luck

US president Joe Biden says the US is "considering" dropping the charge against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

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The WikiLeaks Founder is accused of sharing sensitive information, following the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Australia recently passed a measure - backed by PM Anthony Albanese - calling for the return of Mr Assange, who is an Australian national.

Tomorrow will mark five years since Assange was taken to Belmarsh prison in London, after being dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Mr Assange, 52, denies the charges and said they were an act of journalism.

Campaigners have called for the release of Assange for years
Campaigners have called for the release of Assange for years. Picture: Alamy

Biden was asked by reporters at the White House about Australia's request to drop charges.

When asked on Wednesday whether he had a response, Mr Biden said: "We're considering it."

Tim Dawson - Deputy General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) - told LBC News the President's remarks could catapult the case in favour of Mr Assange.

Read more: Prime Minister refuses to be drawn on election timings saying his sights are set 'beyond' an exact date

In March, Stella Assange told Andrew Marr said she believes her husband "could [also] be put in conditions that will drive him to take his own life" if he is extradited to the US.

In a ruling this morning, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson ordered the US to provide certain assurances, meaning Mr Assange will now not be immediately extradited.

Julian Assange's wife believes her husband may still face the death penalty

Who is Julian Assange?

Assange, 52, was born in Australia in 1971. He was one of several people who together established Wikileaks, a hacking collective, in 2006.

He had been a hacker since he was 16, and had already had brushes with the law in Australia, receiving a fine in 1995.

What is Wikileaks?

Wikileaks has released about ten million classified documents, including many about the US military's activities in the Middle East.

Assange described Wikileaks as "a giant library of the world's most persecuted documents."

He told German publication Der Spiegel: "We give asylum to these documents, we analyse them, we promote them and we obtain more.

"Wikileaks published a video in 2010 that it said showing a US military helicopter shooting dead Iraqi civilians.

The group also published thousands of classified documents released by US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.The documents suggested that the US military had been involved in killing hundreds of Afghan civilians.

These deaths had not been made public.

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