Julian Assange’s European defense team has said he will try to seek asylum for him in France. Hearings on Assange’s extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States on espionage charges are expected to begin next week in London.
Éric Dupond-Moretti said that “the fate and status of all journalists” were at stake in Assange’s case. “We believe the situation is serious enough,” he said, “that our duty is to talk about it” with the French president, Emmanuel Macron.
He was part of a team of lawyers deployed at a Paris press conference to explain why they consider the case against Assange to be unfair, citing his ill health and alleged violations of his rights while in prison in London.
The French team members said they had worked on a “concrete request” for Macron to grant asylum to Assange in France, where he has children and where WikiLeaks was present at his foundation.
Baltasar Garzón, the Spanish coordinator of Assange’s team, reiterated his client’s plan to claim that the Trump administration offered him forgiveness in exchange for the fact that Russia was not involved in the e-mail leak of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 U.S. election campaign.
Garzón claimed that Assange was “pressured by the Trump administration” but resisted and “was given the order to request Julian Assange’s extradition.”
The White House has steadfastly rejected the complaint. However, Garzón said that the testimony and “documentary evidence” of the complaint will be offered to the court during the entire hearing that opens on Monday.
48-year-old Assange spent seven years in the London embassy in Ecuador before being evicted and arrested in April 2019. Last November, Sweden dropped a sexual crime investigation against him because so much had passed time.
Assange, who is Australian, has received support from several neighborhoods. Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović added an opposition voice on Thursday, citing concerns about Assange’s possible treatment in a US prison and the impact on press freedoms if she were to be extradited .
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell visited Assange on Thursday and said, “I think this is one of the most important and significant political processes of this generation – indeed longer.”