- Title: Mexico president calls for Julian Assange to be released from UK prison
- Date: 3rd January 2020
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - DECEMBER 16, 2010) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** NIGHT SHOTS OF LARGE CROWD OF MEDIA OUTSIDE HIGH COURT, ASSANGE LEAVING HIGH COURT AFTER BEING RELEASED ON BAIL (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASSANGE ADDRESSING MEDIA SAYING: "Well, it's great to smell the fresh air of London again." ASSANGE AND TEAM OF LAWYERS OUTSIDE HIGH COURT LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - MAY 10, 2011) (REUTERS) ASSANGE BEING PRESENTED WITH SYDNEY PEACE MEDAL IN FRONTLINE CLUB PHOTOGRAPHER ASSANGE PUTTING MEDAL AROUND HIS NECK LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - FEBRUARY 8, 2011) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR BELMARSH MAGISTRATE'S COURT BUILDING ASSANGE AND LEGAL TEAM ARRIVING ON FINAL DAY OF HEARINGS IN HIS CASE AGAINST EXTRADITION TO SWEDEN
- Embargoed: 17th January 2020 18:51
- Keywords: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Julian Assange
- Location: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO AND LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO AND LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA002BUME2X3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday (January 3) called for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be released from prison in London, urging an end to what he described as his "torture" in detention.
Assange, 48, is in a British jail for skipping bail when he sought asylum in Ecuador's embassy in London, where he spent nearly seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape that were dropped in November.
Assange is also battling U.S. attempts to extradite him over Wikileaks' publication of vast caches of leaked military documents and diplomatic cables. He faces a lengthy prison term if extradited to the United States.
A U.N. human rights investigator last year said Assange has suffered psychological torture from a defamation campaign and should not be extradited to the United States where he would face a "politicized show trial."
Lopez Obrador, a leftist who has close ties with Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, expressed his solidarity with Assange and said he hoped the former hacker and activist is "forgiven and released" from prison.
"I don't know if he has recognized that he acted against rules and norms of a political system, but at the time these cables demonstrated how the world system functions in its authoritarian nature," Lopez Obrador said in response to a question about Assange at a regular government news briefing.
"Hopefully consideration will be given to this, and he's released and won't continue to be tortured."
Assange's presence in London, holed up in Ecuador's embassy and then in jail, has been a diplomatic irritation for Britain, affecting domestic politics and relations with several countries.
Corbyn, who was a guest of honor at Lopez Obrador's inauguration in December 2018, said Assange should not be extradited to the United States "for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose Conservative Party trounced Labour in last month's elections, has vowed to strike new trade deals with countries outside Europe after Britain's departure from the European Union.
(Production: Rodolfo Pena Roja, Arlene Eiras)
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