“We’re all making an appeal for President Biden to desist from the appeal that he’s brought to the British courts so that Julian could be free,” former UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told Sputnik News.
Efforts to demand the US government end its political persecution of jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ramped up Friday as a group of legal experts, whistleblowers, and journalists warned that the Biden administration’s insistence on extraditing a foreign journalist under the Espionage Act could signal the death knell for what remains of free speech guarantees in the West.
Speakers at the third Belmarsh Tribunal of the National Press Club in Washington, DC – including WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, preeminent American public intellectual Noam Chomsky, and recently-liberated human rights attorney Steven Donziger – called on Biden to end its efforts to force Assange to the US, where he could face up to 175 years in a US supermax prison if convicted.
“It is, in effect, a death sentence,” explained former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who noted that, if extradited, Assange would likely “be left for the rest of his life in a maximum security prison in the most appalling conditions.”
As secretary of the Labour Party, Corbyn was defeated in the 2019 British general election following an intense campaign of media attacks over what were later revealed to be spurious claims of antisemitism.
An explosive audio recording revealed that then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo promised leading Zionist in New York that he had no plans to wait until “Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected” to “begin to push back” against him.
Lambasting the political elites who oversaw Assange’s political persecution, Corbyn noted that “they’re very keen on putting everyone else under surveillance – their decisions should be under surveillance.”
When approached for comment by Sputnik News, the former UK Labour leader slammed the “brutal treatment” that “Assange is getting… by much of the media here.”
He stressed “the need for us to not only support and defend him, but also defend journalism but the right to know, and the right to be able to speak about it.”
“And that’s why we’re all making an appeal for President Biden to desist from the appeal that he’s brought to the British courts – so that Julian could be free.”
Asked about the need to bring the CIA under democratic control, Corbyn confirmed that “all state power should be under democratic control.”
“That is the function of a parliamentary democracy,” he explained.
“That is why an effective War Powers Act is very important – that includes the use of special forces,” he continued. “But it’s also about the accountability of all arms of government, including obviously, the special forces.”
Assange has been held at the Belmarsh prison since 2019, when his seven-year asylum at the London-based Ecuadorian embassy was revoked under the Moreno administration. More recently, in December 2022, Assange applied to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge his extradition.