South American leader invites Assange to visit

by makerscbdq

The WikiLeaks co-founder is welcome in Colombia, its leader said as Assange is expected to avoid further jail time

Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, has invited WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to visit the country after the news broke that the activist had been released from British captivity on Tuesday morning.

Having spent over 1,900 days in the Belmarsh maximum-security prison, at the behest of the US, Assange is expected to plead guilty to disseminating state secrets as part of a plea deal

He is expected to attend a hearing in Saipan in a US conntrolled Pacific territory and finally walk free later this week, ending his two decades-long fight against prosecution.

“I congratulate Julian Assange on his freedom. Assange’s eternal imprisonment and torture was an attack against the freedom of the press on a global scale,” the Colombian leader wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

“Assange’s eternal imprisonment and torture was an attack against the freedom of the press on a global scale,” the Colombian leader wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “Denouncing the massacre of civilians in Iraq at the hands of the US was his ‘crime,’ and now the same massacre is being repeated in Gaza.”

Petro invited Assange and his wife Stella to visit Colombia as “an act of true freedom.”

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales also congratulated the WikiLeaks co-founder. “He has been imprisoned for many years for exposing the crimes of the United States to the whole world. He helped us to unveil and dismantle the lies that they used to justify wars and invasions,” he wrote on X.

Throughout the years, WikiLeaks published many top-secret files, including documents connected to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a trove of US diplomatic cables. In 2010, the website released footage of a US military helicopter gunning down civilians in Baghdad in 2007 after mistaking them for hostiles.

From 2011 to 2019, Assange hid inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London due to fear of extradition. Ecuador eventually revoked his asylum status, after which Assange was ejected from the embassy and immediately arrested by British police. He was later convicted of jumping bail and spent five years in the Belmarsh prison in London.

Assange is set to appear in court in the US Pacific territory of the Northern Mariana Islands on Wednesday. The plea deal will carry a sentence of five years – the term he has already served in the UK. Without the deal, Assange would have faced up to 175 years in prison if found guilty, his legal team said.

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