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Corbyn leads calls for ‘immediate release’ of Assange on World Press Freedom Day

JEREMY CORBYN led calls today for the immediate release of imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on World Press Freedom Day.

The former Labour leader highlighted how Mr Assange has spent four years in maximum security prison Belmarsh for exposing the truth.

He said: “We cannot stand by and let governments silence those who seek to expose the truth.

“Today, let’s defend free and democratic journalism everywhere.”

In 2010, Mr Assange published US government records on WikiLeaks that revealed its military committed war crimes against civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, including the killing of two Reuters journalists. 

Since April 2019, he has been held at Belmarsh, fighting extradition to the US. If found guilty, he faces a jail term of up to 175 years.

Mr Assange’s filmmaker brother Gabriel Shipton said: “Each day Julian spends in prison is another day we must all question whether journalists around the world are truly free to report US foreign and military policy.
 
“Four years of confinement in a maximum-security prison and 13 years isolated from the world – what will it take for the appetite of those who wish to punish Julian to be satiated?”

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has also called for the release of Mr Assange and for charges against him to be dropped.

A union statement said: “The prosecution of Mr Assange by the US government and efforts to extradite him have been vehemently opposed by the NUJ.

“Journalists in receipt of classified information regarding the US may choose not to pursue and publish information, in fear of being prosecuted in the same way.”

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