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Lula da Silva Appeals in Support of Assange

© AFP 2023 / EVARISTO SABrazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva delivers a speech during the launching ceremony of the National Public Security Program (PRONASCI) at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on March 15, 2023
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva delivers a speech during the launching ceremony of the National Public Security Program (PRONASCI) at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on March 15, 2023 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.05.2023
Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, criticized the lack of global efforts to secure the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during his visit to London for the coronation of King Charles III.
Lula expressed his dismay at Assange's four-year confinement in Belmarsh Prison in the UK, stating that it was embarrassing that a journalist who exposed wrongdoing was imprisoned without significant action being taken to free him.
“We talk about freedom of expression; the guy is in prison because he denounced wrongdoing. And the press doesn’t do anything in defense of this journalist. I can’t understand it,” Lula told reporters.
Lula, responding to a question about Assange, stated that he had forgotten to discuss this issue with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during his visit but intended to write to him upon his return to Brazil.
Lula called for a global press movement to defend the right to expose wrongdoing, emphasizing that Assange had not "denounced anything vulgar" but had exposed state surveillance. He criticized the lack of action by the press to secure the journalist's freedom, stating that it was sad but true.
President Lula’s latest comments stood in line with his openly expressed disagreement with the US government on geopolitical matters, particularly regarding the Ukraine conflict. His opposition to providing arms to Ukraine and his accusations against the US and Europe for for their role in inciting violence have drawn strong criticism from the US and Europe respectively.
A woman takes part in a demonstration in support of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who is facing extradition to the USA in Brussels on April 23, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.05.2023
‘Washington Doesn’t Care About Some World Leaders’ Support For Assange’
Australia's PM, Albanese, also voiced his support for Assange, stating that "enough is enough" and that there was no benefit in prolonging his incarceration. Last November, Albanese made it clear to the US administration that the matter needed to be resolved.
"...it is time that this matter be brought to a close,” stated Albanese.
Assange's father, John Shipton, has been advocating for his son's case and sought support from Mexico's President López Obrador and Australia's Albanese to raise the issue with US officials, including President Joe Biden.
Assange, an Australian national, was charged with espionage and computer misuse in US, related to WikiLeaks' release of classified documents in 2010. He has been trying to avoid extradition ever since.
A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds a placard calling for his freedom outside Woolwich Crown Court and HMP Belmarsh prison in southeast London on February 24, 2020, ahead of the opening of the trial to hear a US request for Assange's extradition - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.04.2023
UK, Australian Lawmakers Call for Assange's Release, Non-Extradition
In addition to discussing Assange, Lula mentioned that King Charles III had asked him to cope with the problem of Amazon rainforest, to which Lula responded that he needed resources to fulfill that responsibility. PM Sunak promised to transfer £80 million ($101 million) to Brazil's Amazon Fund to combat deforestation, joining contributions from Norway and Germany. US President Biden also recently promised to seek congressional approval for $500 million towards this cause.
However, Lula deemed the British pledge insufficient, indicating that more support is needed to protect the Amazon rainforest.
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