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Assange supporters sail protest boat through London to demand his release

SUPPORTERS of Julian Assange sailed past Parliament and the US embassy to demand the release of the WikiLeaks founder as he spends his 50th birthday in Belmarsh Prison. 

Mr Assange was spared extradition to the US by a judge earlier this year, but he remains in the high security prison, where he has now spent three birthdays. 

His partner and two children, along with supporters, launched a boat protest today to demand his release, sailing past the institutions involved in his incarceration. 

They also called for US President Joe Biden to drop his administration’s attempt to extradite Mr Assange after it lodged an appeal against January’s decision. 

His partner Stella Moris, who is also the mother of his two children, said the US case had “sunk,” adding that there was growing support around the world for his release.

“The longer this goes on the clearer it is that this is a political case. Julian should be at home with me and our two children,” she said. 

“This has gone on far too long, it has to stop — he is not a criminal.”

The boat ride took off from Festival Pier sailing past the Houses of Parliament and the US embassy. 

It was part of a series of actions taking place this week to mark Mr Assange’s 50th birthday. 

On Monday, Reporters Without Borders launched an online action to collect messages for the WikiLeaks founder, which were delivered to him in prison. 

Reporters Without Borders campaigns director Rebecca Vincent said: “Julian Assange’s continued arbitrary detention is a blight on the US and UK’s press freedom records. Let this be the last birthday he spends in prison.”

Twenty MPs across four parties also signed a letter to protest against Justice Secretary Robert Buckland’s repeated refusal to allow parliamentarians to visit the journalist in prison. 

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, along with Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Richard Burgon, delivered the letter to the governor of Belmarsh on Tuesday.

Mr Assange faces up to 175 years in prison if extradited to the US, where he has been indicted for espionage offences relating to the publication of tens of thousands of classified documents. The files exposed potential US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

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