Pradalie spoke of her fears for journalism if Assange’s prosecution proceeds. “The offences for which the United States is pursuing Assange are acts that every journalist performs ever day – finding witnesses to wrongdoing, encouraging them to share evidence and helping them to cover their tracks. If Assange goes to jail, there is not a journalist on earth who will be safe. The British government should bring this grotesque persecution to an end at once”.
Pradalié’s commitment was welcomed by Wikileaks editor-in-chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson. “The IFJ’s support has always been steadfast, we were delighted that the president could spare time to join the demonstration”.
Organisers estimated that more that 7,000 people joined hands to form a chair around the Houses of Parliament. Protestors were joined by comedian Russell Brand, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, retired trades union official Len McLuskey and Assange’s wife Stella.
Assange, who has spent the last three years in Belmarsh faces 18 charges in the US, most arising from the Espionage Act (1917). If convicted the Australian faces a possible 175 year jail sentence. His legal team hopes that the Wikileaks founder will be allowed to appeal the grounds on which he original case against extradition were denied. Such appeals can only be heard, however, if a higher court considers there to be significant legal issues in question.