Some 120 prominent Julian Assange sympathizers appeal to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They want the 66-year-old government leader to commit to releasing the founder of the whistleblower site WikiLeaks during her conversation with US President Joe Biden.
Assange is currently in a British cell while a court battle is underway to determine whether his extradition to the United States can go ahead. The US authorities suspect him of involvement in the publication of confidential information. In addition, the activist recently celebrated his 50th birthday in captivity.
Supporters want the charges against Assange dropped. A letter from sympathizers to Merkel has been signed by prominent figures from German parties such as the CDU, SPD, FDP, Die Linke and the Grünen. It is an initiative of journalist Günter Wallraff, which is supported, among others, by former Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
The letter asks Merkel to raise the issue with Biden. The signatories want her to explain to the Americans that it is “important for the defence of press freedom” to drop the charges against Assange. This would also end the “era of Donald Trump”, they believe.
The two leaders are expected to meet next Thursday in Washington. It will probably be Merkel’s last visit to the US capital as Chancellor. The Germans will go to the polls later this year to elect a parliament, and Merkel does not want to return as head of government after that.