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Biden 'considering' Australia's request to drop prosecution of Assange

President Biden on Wednesday said his administration is considering a request from Australia to drop the United States’s prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“We’re considering it,” Biden said when asked about the issue during a meeting with Japan’s prime minister at the White House.

Assange, who is Australian, has been indicted on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse stemming from the WikiLeaks publication of classified U.S. documents in 2010. Prosecutors have alleged Assange put lives at risk through the publication of the materials.

Australia has argued there is a disconnect between how the U.S. has treated Assange and Chelsea Manning, the U.S. intelligence analyst who was arrested for disclosing sensitive documents to WikiLeaks. Manning served seven years of her 35-year prison sentence before then-President Obama commuted her sentence.

First Amendment advocates have also argued the government’s prosecution of Assange is a threat to free speech.

The United Kingdom last month delayed Assange’s extradition, stating the United States needed to guarantee he will not face the death penalty. 

Source: The Hill

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