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Snowden lamented that Joe Biden seeks to imprison Assange while claiming devotion to "freedom of the press."
Former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) analyst Eduard Snowden, a refugee in Russia, said the new U.S. Administration's statements on press freedom would be "more persuasive" if the White House did not "aggressively seek a 175-year sentence" for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Snowden's statements came after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, commemorating the day before, that Washington advocates "freedom of the press" and "the safety of journalists."
Blinken, in a publication on the occasion, wrote: "On World Press Freedom Day, the United States continues to advocate for press freedom, the safety of journalists around the world, and access to information online and offline. A free and independent press ensures that the public has access to information. Knowledge is power.
However, Snowden reacted to the publication by saying, "it would be more persuasive if the White House did not aggressively seek a 175-year sentence for the world's leading award-winning journalism publisher, despite the pleas of every major press freedom and human rights organization," referring to the WikiLeaks founder.
Last February, The New York Times reported that the Biden administration intends to seek Julian Assange's extradition from the United Kingdom, in line with the steps of the previous administration, and that the Department of Justice has already filed a brief appealing to a British court to overturn the ruling that blocked the activist's extradition to the U.S. country.
This would be more persuasive if the White House weren't aggressively seeking an 175-year sentence for the publisher of award-winning journalism of global importance—despite pleas from every significant press freedom and human rights organization: https://t.co/6QMuajTS8ohttps://t.co/Rb7AoQ8Out
On Jan. 4, British District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected Assange's extradition to the United States over fears that the WikiLeaks founder might commit suicide due to his delicate mental health, which would be exacerbated by the isolation he would likely be subjected to in a U.S. prison.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice in early February, several international human rights organizations urged the agency to withdraw the appeal of Baraitser's decision and argued that Assange's prosecution represents a "grave threat to press freedom" because "much of the conduct described in the indictment is conduct that journalists routinely engage in."
Julian Assange, 49, is charged with espionage and hacking charges for the publication since 2010 of hundreds of thousands of pages of secret military documents and diplomatic cables about illegal U.S. activities in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were disseminated by his WikiLeaks leak portal. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.