A British judge has decided to reject the WikiLeaks founder’s request for extraction to the U.S. due to „deteriorating mental health“
Although speculation has mounted on social media that U.S. President Donald Trump may still pardon Julian Assange before he leaves office, the WikiLeaks founder’s lawyers are preparing for several different legal outcomes. In the meantime, however, crypto users have decided to make their support for Assange heard.
According to Whale Alert, over the past week users have donated a considerable amount of Bitcoin (BTC) for the legal defense of WikiLeaks and Assange. Yesterday, someone sent 8.48 BTC, about $280,000 at the time of the donation, to support the WikiLeaks founder; last Wednesday, another user sent 4.51 BTC, a transaction worth $125,000.
„Someone sent 8.48 BTC (about $281,000) to the WikiLeaks donation wallet!“
Assange’s legal status in the UK remains uncertain. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that the WikiLeaks founder will not be extradited to the United States. Assange is currently in a British prison: should he be transferred to the U.S., he could be charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917, for disclosing certain documents provided to him by former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
The judge’s decision seemed to agree with Assange’s legal team’s argument that the WikiLeaks founder had suffered a „deterioration in his mental health“ as a result of the allegations made against him. Assange’s lawyers stated that any extradition to the United States would put him at „high risk of severe depression, leading to suicide.“
In response to the ruling, Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said he was willing to offer political asylum to Assange. According to Reuters news agency, Lopez Obrador would be in favor of pardoning the WikiLeaks founder, referring to him as a journalist in need of protection.
Specifically, the president stated:
„I will ask the foreign minister […] to contact the government of the United Kingdom regarding the possibility of releasing Mr. Assange and offering him political asylum in Mexico.“
Before the judge’s decision was made public, a number of high-profile figures in the crypto world had expressed their support for Assange in an effort to push Trump to grant Assange a pardon before he leaves office on January 20.
On Sunday, Blockstream CEO Adam Back wrote on Twitter that Assange should be released, given his role as a journalist:
„Julian is a journalist, that is a fact. Through his work he has brought wrongdoing to light. It is like in those places in the world where journalists are made to disappear, he is facing the hypocritical western variant of this phenomenon, carried out by an establishment that does not represent the will of the people: it is a war machine that has only its own interest at heart.
Various rumors have circulated on social media, as yet unconfirmed, that Trump is considering pardoning Assange, as well as Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht and whistleblower Edward Snowden. However, with only 16 days left in his White House term, time is running out for the U.S. president.