‘What crime did Assange commit?’, says Lula, in defense of Wikileaks founder

‘What crime did Assange commit?’, says Lula, in defense of Wikileaks founder

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), who leads the electoral race, commented on Friday (17) the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from the United Kingdom to the US, announced earlier. “What crime did Assange commit?”, asked the PT.

Lula opened his speech at a partisan cultural event in Maceió asking for a tribute to Assange. “If he goes to the US, extradited, it’s certainly life in prison and he’s certainly going to die in jail.”

“We who are talking about democracy here will need to ask, ‘What crime did Assange commit?’ It’s the crime of telling the truth, showing that the US, through its investigation department, I don’t know if the CIA, was bugging many countries in the world, including bugging President Dilma Rousseff.”

He continued: “He denounced the swindles made in the most important country on the planet. This citizen should be receiving the Nobel Prize, the Oscar for decency and courage.”

In 2015, WikiLeaks released confidential information from the US National Security Agency that revealed espionage against then-President Dilma, aides and ministers. In all, 29 phones of members and former members of the government had been tapped.

Assange was responsible for one of the biggest leaks of secret documents of the American Armed Forces. The Australian is wanted by US authorities on 18 criminal charges, including espionage related to the leak.

After a long judicial imbroglio, the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, approved this Friday the Australian’s extradition. In a statement, the ministry said that the country’s courts “did not consider that extradition would be oppressive, unfair or an abuse of process”.

He, however, can appeal, and will, as confirmed by his wife, Stella, in a statement after the announcement. According to the Home Office statement, he retains the “right to appeal the decision within 14 days”, and can appeal to the London High Court, which must give its approval for the challenge to proceed.

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