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Mexico Asylum for Julian Assange of Wikileaks

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Mexico will offer political asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, President López Obrador said Monday after a British judge blocked the 49-year-old Australian’s extradition to the United States.

“I’m in favor of him being pardoned. Not only that, I’m going to ask the foreign affairs minister [Marcelo Ebrard] to do the relevant paperwork to ask the government of the United Kingdom about the possibility of allowing Mr. Assange to be freed and for Mexico to offer him political asylum,” he told reporters at his regular news conference.

López Obrador’s remarks came after Judge Vanessa Baraitser of the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales ruled that Assange cannot be extradited to the United States to face charges of espionage and hacking of government computers because there would be a severe risk of him committing suicide while being held in a high-security U.S. prison.

“The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man, who is genuinely fearful about his future. I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America,” Baraitser said.

Explaining his decision to offer asylum to Assange – who was arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2019 after holing up there for almost seven years – López Obrador said that asylum is a right and that Mexico has a tradition of offering protection to foreigners.

“But at the same time, [there is] also the responsibility to take care that he who receives asylum doesn’t intervene, doesn’t interfere in the political affairs of any country,” he said.

“Firstly, I am pleased that in England they have given protection to Mr. Assange, that his extradition to the United States hasn’t been authorized,” López Obrador said.

“It’s a triumph of justice; I’m pleased that they act this way in England because Assange is a journalist and deserves a chance. We will be in a position to offer asylum and we congratulate the United Kingdom court for the decision taken today, … it was a very good decision. So, a pardon for Mr. Assange … and asylum in Mexico, we’ll give him protection.”

The president’s position on the Wikileaks founder stands in stark contrast to his position on other asylum-seekers, notably Central American migrants, whose welcome in Mexico has been less than warm since López Obrador took office. Nor is the president known for being sympathetic toward journalists.

The move was seen by a former ambassador to the U.S. as another indication that the president is “determined to pick a fight with Democrats and the incoming Joe Biden administration. “Saying this morning that he will seek to offer asylum to Assange is lunacy, sheer lunacy,” Arturo Sarukhán wrote on Twitter.

López Obrador has previously called for Britain to release Assange and described his imprisonment as “torture.” Documents published by Wikileaks revealed the world’s “authoritarian” machinations, he said last year.

Assange will appear in court again on Wednesday as his legal team lodges a new application for his release on bail. Lawyers for the United States government, which sought the Wikileaks founder’s extradition, are appealing the ruling handed down in London on Monday morning.

ESPAÑOL

México ofrecerá asilo político al fundador de Wikileaks, Julian Assange, dijo el lunes el presidente López Obrador luego de que un juez británico bloqueara la extradición del australiano de 49 años a Estados Unidos.

“Estoy a favor de que sea indultado. No solo eso, le voy a pedir al canciller [Marcelo Ebrard] que haga los trámites pertinentes para preguntarle al gobierno del Reino Unido sobre la posibilidad de permitir que el Sr. Assange sea liberado y que México le ofrezca asilo político. ”, Dijo a los periodistas en su conferencia de prensa habitual.

Las declaraciones de López Obrador se produjeron después de que la jueza Vanessa Baraitser del Tribunal Penal Central de Inglaterra y Gales dictaminó que Assange no puede ser extraditado a Estados Unidos para enfrentar cargos de espionaje y piratería de computadoras gubernamentales porque habría un grave riesgo de que se suicidara mientras estaba retenido en una prisión estadounidense de alta seguridad.

“La impresión general es la de un hombre deprimido y, a veces, desesperado, que realmente teme por su futuro. Encuentro que la condición mental del Sr. Assange es tal que sería opresivo extraditarlo a los Estados Unidos de América ”, dijo Baraitser.

Al explicar su decisión de ofrecer asilo a Assange, quien fue arrestado en la embajada ecuatoriana en Londres en 2019 después de permanecer allí durante casi siete años, López Obrador dijo que el asilo es un derecho y que México tiene la tradición de ofrecer protección a los extranjeros.

“Pero al mismo tiempo, [existe] también la responsabilidad de cuidar que quien recibe asilo no intervenga, no interfiera en los asuntos políticos de ningún país”, dijo.

“En primer lugar, me complace que en Inglaterra le hayan dado protección al señor Assange, que su extradición a Estados Unidos no haya sido autorizada”, dijo López Obrador.

“En primer lugar, me complace que en Inglaterra le hayan dado protección al señor Assange, que su extradición a Estados Unidos no haya sido autorizada”, dijo López Obrador.

“Es un triunfo de la justicia; Me complace que actúen de esta manera en Inglaterra porque Assange es periodista y merece una oportunidad. Estaremos en condiciones de ofrecer asilo y felicitamos al tribunal del Reino Unido por la decisión tomada hoy,… fue una muy buena decisión. Entonces, un perdón para Assange … y asilo en México, le daremos protección “.

La posición del presidente sobre el fundador de Wikileaks contrasta fuertemente con su posición sobre otros solicitantes de asilo, especialmente los migrantes centroamericanos, cuya bienvenida en México no ha sido tan cálida desde que López Obrador asumió el cargo. El presidente tampoco es conocido por simpatizar con los periodistas.

La medida fue vista por un ex embajador en Estados Unidos como otra indicación de que el presidente está “decidido a entablar una pelea con los demócratas y la administración entrante de Joe Biden. “Decir esta mañana que buscará ofrecer asilo a Assange es una locura, una locura total”, escribió Arturo Sarukhán en Twitter.

López Obrador ha pedido anteriormente a Gran Bretaña que libere a Assange y describió su encarcelamiento como “tortura”. Los documentos publicados por Wikileaks revelaron las maquinaciones “autoritarias” del mundo, dijo el año pasado.

Assange comparecerá nuevamente ante el tribunal el miércoles cuando su equipo legal presente una nueva solicitud para su liberación bajo fianza. Los abogados del gobierno de Estados Unidos, que solicitó la extradición del fundador de Wikileaks, están apelando el fallo dictado en Londres el lunes por la mañana.

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