Members of the Bundestag, the German parliament, created a special working group designed to achieve the release of Australian journalist, founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange.
Representatives of the group announced that they intend to defend the freedom of press and freedom of speech and demanded to prevent the extradition of Assange to the United States.
The group included representatives of all parliamentary factions except for the nationalist Alternative for Germany, with which other parties avoid entering into any coalitions.
Earlier, the United Nations had called for Assange’s release: the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, stated that the journalist’s life was threatened by an outbreak of coronavirus in the prison where he was held, and the conditions of his detention were equivalent to cruel torture.
The U.S. Justice Department filed 17 charges against Assange in May 2019, later adding another. The WikiLeaks founder faces up to 175 years in prison if extradited to the U.S., about which court hearings are now underway. The current president of the United States, Donald Trump, claimed that he was ready to pardon Assange if he named the source from whom he received the texts of the emails from the hacked servers of the Democratic Party in 2016.
In 2012, fearing extradition to Sweden because of rape charges (the case was dropped in 2019), Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. There he was held continuously for nearly seven years. Assange is now serving a prison sentence in the UK for violating his bail conditions.