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Assange hailed as resistance fighter of 21st century

JAILED Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was hailed as a “resistance fighter of the 21st century” as journalists gathered in Brussels to demand that the Belgian government takes urgent action to block his extradition to the US.

More than 120 individuals and organisations, including the International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) signed a petition which also asked for Mr Assange to be given international protection and recognised as a political prisoner.

The IFJ and EFJ joined action with Belgian organisations in actions to defend freedom of expression, freedom of the press and Mr Assange along with fellow whistleblowers Chelsea Manning, Sarah Harrison and Edward Snowden.

Mr Assange remains in Belmarsh prison despite his sentence for skipping bail ending in September.

Fears are growing for his safety with doctors warning that he is “slowly dying” in prison.

He faces 175 years in a US prison if convicted on charges under the Espionage Act.

IFJ general secretary Anthony Bellanger asked for Mr Assange to be recognised as an honorary citizen of Brussels.

“Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Sarah Harrison are the resistance fighters of the 21st century. They sacrificed their freedom and lives for telling the truth,” he said.

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