Nov. 10, 2023—Sixteen Democratic and Republican members of the U.S. Congress have called for U.S. President Joe Biden to withdraw the U.S. extradition request against Australian journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a report by Sputnik. Their document dated Nov. 8 was revealed in a post on X by Assange’s wife, Stella Assange, on Nov. 9: “As Members of Congress deeply committed to the principles of free speech and freedom of the press, we write to strongly encourage your Administration to withdraw the U.S. extradition request currently pending against Australian publisher Julian Assange and halt all prosecutorial proceedings against him as soon as possible,” the 16 members wrote.
The signers including U.S. Representatives James McGovern (D-MA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Eric Burlison (R-M0), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Matthew Rosendale (R-MN), Greg Casar (D-TX), Cori Bush (D-MO), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Jesus Garcia (D-IL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
They expressed “deep concerns about this case have been repeatedly expressed by international media outlets, human rights and press freedom advocates, and Members of Congress, among others.” They believe the U.S. Department of Justice “acted correctly in 2013 … when it declined to pursue charges against Mr. Assange for publishing the classified documents because it recognized that the prosecution would set a dangerous precedent.” They further affirmed that “it is the duty of journalists to seek out sources, including documentary evidence, in order to report to the public on the activities of government. The United States must not pursue an unnecessary prosecution that risks criminalizing common journalistic practices and thus chilling the work of the press. We urge you to ensure that this case be brought to a close in as timely a manner as possible.”