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Amnesty International: Julian Assange’s “Arbitrary” Detention Must End. Release Him Now.

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As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces up to 175 years in prison if he is extradited to the U.S. under the Espionage Act for publishing classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes, Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard says his detention since 2010 “is arbitrary and that he should be released.” She adds that allegations made against him by the U.S. authorities “raise a large number of problems and red flags in relation to freedom of the press.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to bring Dr. Callamard back into the conversation, new secretary general of Amnesty International. I last saw you moderating event at Columbia University around the issue of Julian Assange. And I wanted to ask you about the WikiLeaks founder, certainly a person who exposed surveillance. If extradited to the U.S., he could face up to 175 years in prison under the Espionage Act related to publication of classified documents exposing U.S. war crimes. In a recent interview, his partner, Stella Moris, urge the Biden administration to free the WikiLeaks founder. This is what she said.

STELLA MORIS: Something has got to give. They can’t maintain this prosecution against Julian while saying that they defend global press freedom or defend the First Amendment in the United States. So the only — the only thing they can do, in order to be consistent, is to drop the case entirely. … It’s difficult for me to speak about — about this. I think there’s no doubt that Julian wouldn’t survive an extradition.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s Julian Assange’s partner, Stella Moris. She recently visited Assange at the Belmarsh prison in London. They have two children together. Britain is not allowing him to be freed as they weigh this issue of extradition. What are your thoughts, Dr. Callamard?

AGNÈS CALLAMARD: Well, I think Amnesty’s position is very clear, that the detention is arbitrary and that he should be released. And we are campaigning for the release of Julian Assange. The allegations made against him in — by the U.S. authorities raise a large number of problems and red flags in relation to freedom of the press, in particular. But our position is clear. We’re campaigning for his release.

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