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News > Brazil

Brazilians Urge Lula da Silva to Grant Asylum to Julian Assange

  • Campaign for the release of Julian Assange in the UK, June, 2023.

    Campaign for the release of Julian Assange in the UK, June, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/ @IFJGlobal

Published 28 June 2023
Opinion

The Australian journalist was arrested in 2010 after WikiLeaks exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, a group of Brazilian politicians, scientists, and intellectuals published a letter requesting President Lula da Silva to offer political asylum to Australian journalist Julian Assange, who is currently imprisoned in London.

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"We respectfully ask for your support and the adoption of legal and diplomatic measures for Brazil to grant political asylum to Julian Assange as quickly as possible," state the nearly 2,900 signatories, including social leaders, journalists, professors, and unionists.

They highlight that Lula himself has stated on several occasions that Assange is imprisoned for ensuring press freedom and exposing human rights abuses committed by the United States worldwide.

If the UK Justice confirms its decision to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States, he could face a 175-year prison sentence for "revealing true facts about that country."

The signatories propose that Lula launches a campaign in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, as well as the G20 countries, to secure the approval of asylum from the U.K.

The Brazilian government can present the petition directly to the United Kingdom, with the support of world figures such as Pope Francis, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel.

"Regardless of the outcome, we believe that this vigorous effort to defend Assange will further highlight the humanitarian and progressive stance of the Brazilian government in the world," emphasized the signatories.

During the coronation of King Charles III in May, the Brazilian President said that "it is shameful that a journalist who exposed one State's traps against others is condemned to die in jail while no one does anything for his freedom."

Assange, accused by the United States of 18 counts of espionage and computer intrusion, has been in a London prison for four years, after being deprived of political asylum by then-Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno and expelled from the embassy.

The Australian journalist was arrested in 2010 after WikiLeaks exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the request of Sweden, he was accused of alleged sexual offenses for which he was never charged.

Among the signatories are Communist legislator Jandira Feghali, neurologist Sidarta Ribeiro, musician Jaques Morelembaum, scientist Ennio Candotti, and former ministers Renato Ribeiro, Ana de Hollanda, Sergio Machado, and Jose Gomes Temporao.

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