US 'Considering' Dropping Prosecution Of Assange, Biden Says

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Apr 10, 2024 - 11:20 PM

Wednesday saw a rare and unexpected positive development in the Julian Assange extradition case. President Joe Biden has affirmed the US is "considering" dropping its prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder. 

Currently, Assange is awaiting a final ruling from the UK high court over his possible extradition to the US, coming at the end of a lengthy appeals process. But the following exchange with President Biden and reporters just happened

When asked about the request by reporters at the White House on Wednesday, President Joe Biden said "we're considering it" - comments described as "encouraging" by Mr Assange's lawyer.

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Biden issued the response in a press briefing while hosting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for an official White House visit, where the two leaders are expended to deepen defense ties.

It is widely perceived this was all set in motion when in February Assange's native Australia saw its parliament vote to issue formal request that charges against Julian Assange be dropped by the US. The motion adopted by parliament emphasized "the importance of the UK and USA bringing the matter to a close so that Mr. Assange can return home to his family in Australia."

The country's prime minister Anthony Albanese immediately backed the motion calling for his return to Australia.

Amnesty International also recently renewed its call to drop the charges against Assange. "The risk to publishers and investigative journalists around the world hangs in the balance. Should Julian Assange be sent to the U.S. and prosecuted there, global media freedoms will be on trial, too," a statement said.

We detailed in March that the Biden administration might be looking for a way to bring the 14-year long legal drama to an end. A WSJ report at the time said, "The U.S. Justice Department is considering whether to allow Julian Assange to plead guilty to a reduced charge of mishandling classified information, according to people familiar with the matter, opening the possibility of a deal that would end a lengthy legal saga triggered by one of the biggest classified intelligence leaks in American history."

A plea deal means the whole crisis for him and his family could finally come to an acceptable and peaceful end after all of these years. But Assange's legal team never gave any level of confirmation to the prior WSJ reporting.

However, this fresh Biden statement seems to confirm the reporting that a plea deal could be on the table.

A May 20 hearing which has been scheduled by the UK High Court and is expected to take up whether the US 'assurances' that Assange would not face either the death penalty or torture if transferred to US custody are satisfactory. His lawyers have long argued that confinement in a US federal 'Supermax' facility would indeed be torturous and would also severely degrade his mental health.