News Release

* “Gracias AMLO — Free Assange” * Tlaib “Breakthrough” on Espionage Act


File:Free Assange Now.jpg

ANN WILCOX,, @assangeactionDC  NATHAN FULLER,, @couragefound

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is scheduled to meet with Biden in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. He recently stated regarding the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Jullian Assange: “If they take him to the United States and he is sentenced to the maximum penalty and to die in prison, we must start a campaign to tear down the Statue of Liberty.”
Wilcox is with DC Action for Assange, which is delivering a letter of appreciation to the Mexican embassy on Tuesday from Assange Defense, an umbrella of press freedom and civil liberties groups. The letter states: “We agree with you that the prosecution of Mr. Assange for publishing is a profound threat to journalism around the world.” They will be carrying “Gracias AMLO — Free Assange” signage.

Fuller, who directs Assange Defense at the Courage Foundation in New York described the broad national coalition that has called on the Biden administration to end the prosecution of Mr. Assange, who turned 51 in Belmarsh prison in London last week. “Professional journalists, their unions and editors, constitutional scholars and lawyers, human rights activists on the left and libertarians on the right — we all agree that the persecution of Julian and the prosecution that the Department of Justice inherited from the Trump administration undermine the First Amendment.”
CHIP GIBBONS,, @rightsdissent

Gibbons is policy director for Defending Rights & Dissent. The group recently released a statement: “Tlaib Espionage Act Reform Would be Major Breakthrough for Press Freedom and Transparency.” The amendment is scheduled to be before the House Rules Committee Tuesday.

The group states: “Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has introduced an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would amend the Espionage Act of 1917 to increase civil rights, civil liberties, and due process protections in the law. Rep. Tlaib’s amendment targets a number of Constitutional defects identified by legal scholars and press freedom advocates which encourage prosecutorial abuse and prevent the possibility of a proper defense at trial.”

Daniel Ellsberg, famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower, said: “For half a century, starting with my own prosecution, no whistleblower charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 has had, or could have, a fair trial. These long-overdue amendments would remedy that injustice, protect the First Amendment freedom of the press, and encourage vitally-needed truth-telling.”

Defending Rights & Dissent said: “Espionage Act prosecutions of journalists’ sources were once rare, but under the Obama administration they became the go-to weapon against national security whistleblowers. Under the Trump administration, the law was charged for the first time against a publisher, in the case of Julian Assange. Nearly every press freedom group has warned of the dangerous precedent that would be set in prosecuting Assange for Espionage.”

Gibbons added: “Rep. Tlaib’s amendment is the boldest, most comprehensive effort we’ve seen yet. It would truly limit the Espionage Act to the prosecution of spies, not journalists, not their sources, and restore basic principles of due process in the event the government did take someone to trial.”