Brazilian leaders Lula and Dilma express solidarity with Julian Assange, reject extradition

The Australian journalist faces 18 charges from the United States and could be sent to the country to be sentenced

September 11, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Lula said "Assange should be considered a hero."

Ex-president of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defended the innocence of Australian journalist Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, this Friday September 11.

Lula said that the activist should have transformed into a global hero due to the work that he did to expose the war crimes committed by the US army.

“Assange should have been treated like a hero for having denounced to the world the lies of the US State Department, investigating the world, investigating the government. All of the democratic countries should cry for his freedom,” declared the ex-president.

Lula gave an interview about the case to the program Going Underground from the United Kingdom, and called on all those that believe in democracy to unite to demand Assange’s freedom.

“I want to say that all of the people that believe, all of the people that believe in human rights, that all of the people that believe in justice, cannot allow Assange to be extradited,” he said.

Assange is undergoing a trial in the United Kingdom over his possible extradition to the United States. The trial was suspended on Thursday September 10, after a member of the prosecution was potentially exposed to COVID-19.

If he is extradited, the founder of Wikileaks would be tried for espionage and conspiracy in the US. In total, there are 18 charges that account for a sentence of around 175 years.

“Risk of life”

The ex-president Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party also spoke out on the issue and published a letter titled “#FreeAssange” on her website.

She argued that if he is extradited to the United States, Assange “will in practice have his life put at risk” and believes that a possible condemnation on US soil would constitute “an attack on freedom of expression.”

“All of those who fail to speak up will be accomplices to this barbarity, especially the press,” affirmed Rouseff.

“Julian Assange is being persecuted and suppressed by a machine of lies manipulated by lawfare and they are willing to condemn him in the name of barbarity,” she added.

Read her full statement here.