World

Lula calls for efforts to free Assange


RIO DE JANEIRO –

After attending the coronation of King Charles III in London, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva denounced the lack of concerted efforts to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent four years in the process. in British Belmarsh Prison.

Lula told reporters: “It’s a shame that a journalist who denounced one country’s fraud against another was arrested, sentenced to death in prison, and we did nothing to release him. do for him. It’s a crazy thing.” “We talk about freedom of speech; he went to jail because he denounced misconduct. And the press didn’t do anything to protect this journalist. I can’t understand it.”

Lula made the comment in response to a question about Assange, a native Australian. He said he forgot to discuss the matter with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, but he will write to him when he returns to Brazil.

Assange has been resisting extradition to the United States, and Lula’s comments come at a time when he has appeared somewhat reluctant to voice his differences with Washington on issues. geopolitics, especially his opposition to supplying Ukraine with weapons in the war against Russia. and accused the United States and Europe of encouraging fighting. His stance and repeated statements have been met with fierce criticism from the White House and Europe.

For its part, Australia has stepped up diplomatic pressure on the US government to drop the prosecution of Assange.

On Friday, Prime Minister Albanese of Australia told Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview that “enough. There is nothing to serve his continued detention.” Last November, Albanese told Congress that “his position is very clear and has been made clear by the US administration: It is time for this matter to be over.”

Assange has fought in British courts for years to avoid being sent to the US, where he faces 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer abuse stemming from WikiLeaks’ release of a huge trove of classified documents. huge in 2010.

US prosecutors allege that he helped US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified military and diplomatic documents that WikiLeaks later released, endangering his life. .

To his supporters, Assange is an undercover journalist who exposed US military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lula told reporters: “I think there has to be a worldwide press movement to protect him. Not in regards to who he is, but to defend the right to denounce.” “He’s not denouncing anything vulgar. He’s accusing the state of spying on others, and that has become a crime against journalists. The press, defending press freedom, does nothing. to release this citizen. Sad, but true.”

Last year, Assange’s father, John Shipton, managed to convince the President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, to raise the issue of prosecuting his son with the top US diplomat, and convince the Albanese of Australia raised the issue with US President Joe Biden at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. .

In his comments to reporters on Saturday, Lula also noted that Charles III had asked him to take care of the Amazon rainforest, and he replied that he needed the resources to do so. Prime Minister Sunak on Friday pledged £80 million ($101 million) to the Brazilian Amazon Fund to stop deforestation, adding donations from Norway and Germany, as well as a promise Biden’s recent bid to seek congressional approval for $500 million.

But Lula told reporters that the amount Britain pledged “is not enough”.

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Pollasttri reports from Sao Paulo

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