German journos want Merkel to back Assange

·1-min read

The German Journalists' Association (DJV) has appealed to Chancellor Angela Merkel to intercede with US President Joe Biden on behalf of imprisoned Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

During her talks in Washington on Thursday, the conservative politician should work towards having the charges against Assange dropped, the DJV said.

Should Assange, who is currently in prison in southeast England and in poor health, be extradited to the US, he would face trials there with potential sentences of more than 100 years in prison, the DJV in Berlin said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Julian Assange has exposed war crimes committed by the US," DJV national chairman Frank Ueberall stressed. "He deserves a medal for this rather than decades in prison."

The chancellor would be well advised to convince the US president that he should break with the principle of revenge of his predecessors in the White House in the Assange case.

The DJV chair pointed out that large sections of civil society and journalism have been campaigning for the release for years. "Neither the German chancellor nor the US president should ignore these voices."

Last weekend, around 120 politicians, artists and journalists appealed to the chancellor to campaign for Assange's release during her US visit.

Assange is awaiting the result of an appeal in Britain's High Court over whether or not he should be sent to the US.

He has been accused of conspiring with whistle-blower Chelsea Manning to leak a trove of classified material in 2010.

A total of 18 charges have been lodged by Washington and if found guilty, Assange could be jailed overseas for 175 years.

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