Biden Weighs Australian Request To Drop The Prosecution Of Wikileaks Founder

( — President Joe Biden recently announced that he’s currently weighing a request from Australia, which seeks for the president to drop the prosecution of the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange.

Assange currently faces multiple charges of espionage and a charge of misusing a computer, which stem from his publication of classified United States documents on his website, Wikileaks, back in 2009. Despite the United States attempting to prosecute Assange for over a decade, Australia seeks to have the case against him dropped due to his status as an Australian citizen.

Australia has fought against the United States’s prosecution of Assange since federal authorities first charged him with espionage, and repeatedly asked both Obama and Trump to pardon the Australian citizen. When requesting the charge dismissal from the United States, Australian officials cited Chelsea Manning’s (formerly Bradley Manning) case and how the Obama administration treated an American citizen differently despite her involvement in Assange’s alleged criminality. Manning helped steal sensitive electronic files, which Assange then published on his website, but had her 35-year prison sentence commuted by then-President Obama to just seven years.

Although Obama commuted Manning’s sentence, the United States has persisted in its attempted prosecution of Assange. According to Australian officials, Assange merely acted as a journalist when he published the classified documents on his website, and thus, his actions were protected under the United States Constitution’s right to free speech. Following the publication, Assange became the subject of international scrutiny and has allegedly survived multiple assassination attempts during his time incarcerated. The United Kingdom currently has Assange incarcerated but won’t extradite the Australian national to the United States if he could receive the death penalty.

While the details surrounding Biden’s response to Australia regarding Assange are vague, Australia’s prime minister claims the conversation felt “encouraging.” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that he believes Biden could pardon Assange, citing Assange’s lengthy incarceration in the United Kingdom and how prosecuting the Wikileaks founder wouldn’t benefit the United States. Albanese also gave Assange the support of Australia’s entire government, claiming that the country won’t stop until Assange receives a pardon.

Biden hasn’t discussed whether he plans to pardon Assange, but he did state that he’s considering Australia’s proposal. Biden could pardon the WikiLeaks founder, as many Americans believe Assange acted with justification and disagree with the ongoing legal effort against him.

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