Brazil’s left-wing President-elect Lula da Silva has called for journalist Julian Assange to be freed from his “unjust imprisonment.”
Assange, the founder of whistle-blowing journalism publication WikiLeaks, has languished since 2019 in a maximum-security British prison, where he has suffered from prolonged torture that could threaten his life, according to the top United Nations expert.
The United Kingdom is preparing to extradite the Australian journalist to the United States, where he is facing up to 175 years in prison on politically motivated charges based in part on illegal CIA spying and threats.
On November 28, Lula met with Assange’s colleagues from WikiLeaks. The Brazilian president-elect said he “sent my solidarity” and expressed hope that “Assange will be freed from his unjust imprisonment.”
Estive com @khrafnsson, editor-chefe do WikiLeaks, e com o editor Joseph Farrell, que me informaram da situação de saúde e da luta por liberdade de Julian Assange. Pedi para que enviassem minha solidariedade. Que Assange seja solto de sua injusta prisão.
📸: Cláudio Kbene pic.twitter.com/DuSvdEBQQY
— Lula (@LulaOficial) November 29, 2022
Lula tweeted a photo of his meeting with Kristinn Hrafnsson, an Icelandic journalist who serves as editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, and Joseph Farrell, another editor of the publication.
Hrafnsson said Lula expressed “his ongoing support for Julian Assange and the demand to end the persecution, understanding it can damage press freedom worldwide.”
The WikiLeaks chief called the Brazilian politician a “true man of passion, vision and sympathy.”
President-elect of Brazil Lula da Silva expressed, in a private meeting tonight, his ongoing support for Julian Assange and the demand to end the persecution, understanding it can damage press freedom worldwide. A true man of passion, vision and sympathy. Obrigado Lula pic.twitter.com/pq22nRYljD
— Kristinn Hrafnsson (@khrafnsson) November 29, 2022
Numerous prominent journalists and lawyers have sued the CIA for spying on them as part of its 24/7 surveillance operation targeting Assange.
The US spy agency even made plans to kidnap and murder Assange when he was trapped for years in Ecuador’s embassy in London.
Lula da Silva won the second round of Brazil’s presidential elections on October 30. He will officially become the head-of-state of the largest country in Latin America on January 1, 2023.
Lula is just one of several leftist leaders in the region who have called for Assange to be freed, along with Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega, and Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro.
A few days before meeting with Lula in Brazil, the WikiLeaks editors were in Bogotá, where they met with Colombia’s first-ever left-wing President Gustavo Petro.
Petro also expressed support for freeing Assange, and said he and other Latin American heads of state would pressure the US government and President Joe Biden to drop the charges against the journalist.