Press freedom advocates on Sunday marked the two-year anniversary of Julian Assange’s arrest at the hands of British police by demanding that the Biden administration immediately drop all U.S. charges against the WikiLeaks publisher, who is currently facing 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act.
“Today marks two full years that Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange has been incarcerated at Belmarsh prison,” said Rebecca Vincent, director of international campaigns at Reporters Without Borders. “Shame on the U.S. and U.K. It’s time to free Assange.”
In April of 2019, U.K. law enforcement officers dragged Assange out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London—where he was granted asylum nearly seven years earlier—following Ecuador President Lenin Moreno’s decision to revoke the publisher’s protections. Since his arrest, Assange has been detained in a high-security London prison while battling the U.S. government’s attempt to extradite him, an effort that began under the Trump administration and has continued under President Joe Biden.
Given that Assange is facing up to 175 years in prison for publishing classified documents—something that journalists do often—the U.S. extradition push has been widely condemned as a dire threat to press freedoms around the world.