20 January 2021. Blueprint for Free Speech has launched an international campaign seeking to secure a Presidential pardon for imprisoned WikiLeaks Publisher and journalist Julian Assange.
The campaign will seek a pardon from both sides of the political aisle in the United States – the administrations of the President and the President-elect.
Assange, whose extradition to the United States was halted by a UK court on health grounds last week, is currently incarcerated at high-security Belmarsh Prison in southeast London pending appeal.
Mark Davis, board member at Blueprint for Free Speech, said:
“Last week’s ruling was a great relief for those of us who oppose the prosecution of Julian Assange, but it has not solved the problem. As long as the US indictment remains in place it poses an existential threat to national security journalism and investigative reporting in the United States and abroad.
“For Assange too, it means the threat is only delayed until he has to leave the UK, which he will likely be obliged to do later this year. Absent a political agreement, the US could simply issue a new extradition request to his next country of residence.
“Pardoning Julian Assange is the right thing to do, for his sake and for freedom of expression rights internationally. It is correct that Blueprint for Free Speech furthers these efforts during the US Presidential transition period, when most pardons are granted.”
Long-term member of Assange’s defence team Jennifer Robinson, said:
“This is a vitally important legal case for press freedom and freedom of expression internationally. Given the British court’s findings about the state of Julian’s health, it is important that a resolution is found quickly.”
Blueprint for Free Speech is an Australian NGO that works internationally to promote media freedom and the right to freedom of expression. The organisation has monitored the Assange extradition proceedings since their beginning. Blueprint’s Bridges for Media Freedom project has kept the public and key stakeholders abreast of developments in the case through the Assange Court Report and specialist briefings to political and civil society monitors.
Assange: Significant statements on extradition and pardon