Tuesday, 05 July 2022
A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holding a banner outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London. (File photo by Reuters)
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has suggested that the Statue of Liberty be taken down if WikiLeaks whistleblower Julian Assange is extradited to the US from Britain.
For years the journalist and founder of WikiLeaks whistleblowing website, who is imprisoned in a UK jail awaiting a court decision for extradition to the United States, has been fighting against the extradition.
Julian Assange will be extradited within 28 days if his appeal is rejected by the High Court.
The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor in New York City in the United States ought to be dismantled if a US court indicts Assange, Lopez Obrador said at a press conference on Monday.
“If he is brought to the US and sentenced to the maximum penalty, to death in prison, it will be necessary to start a campaign to dismantle the Statue of Liberty in New York, donated by the French, because it will no longer be a symbol of freedom.”
The Mexican president, who is scheduled to visit the United States for talks with US President Joe Biden in Washington next week, said he would bring up the issue of Assange’s extradition in the meeting with his American counterpart.
In January 2022, Lopez Obrador said that he would be willing to offer political asylum in Mexico to Assange.
Australian-born Assange has lodged an appeal with the United Kingdom’s High Court against his extradition to the United States.
Assange, who is wanted by US authorities on 18 counts, will be extradited within 28 days if his appeal is rejected by the High Court.
The US government has filed criminal charges against Assange for publishing about 750,000 classified military and diplomatic documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Washington claims releasing vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables has put American agents’ lives in danger.
Since the beginning of his political activism, Assange has been praised as an anti-establishment hero who has exposed US atrocities in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Supporters of Assange accuse the United States and Britain of victimizing him and decry the criminal charges as a politically-motivated attack on journalism and free speech.