Hours after a UK judge refused to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador offered asylum to the Wikileaks founder. In a statement Lopez said: “Assange is a journalist and deserves a chance, I am in favour of pardoning him. We will give him protection.”
It needs to be mentioned that Assange fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in London in June 2012 after being wanted by the Swedish government for questioning over alleged sex crimes. He had to remain there till April 2019 though by that time the Swedish authorities had dropped their investigation in the case.
Earlier on Monday the British judge ruled that Assange should not be extradited to the United States to face charges such as exposing many of the confidential secrets of the sole superpower, saying his mental health problems implied that he would be at risk of suicide.
Though the US authorities said that they would continue to seek Assange’s extradition to the country, there was no immediate White House comment on the ruling.
It needs to be mentioned that shortly before becoming the US President, Donald Trump had praised Wikileaks after it released hacked e-mails embarrassing his arch-rival in the Presidential race, Hillary Clinton.
But only a few months later, the then CIA Director (now Secretary of State) Mike Pompeo openly termed Wikileaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service”.
Only time will tell whether the asylum granted by the Mexican President, a leftist who took office in December 2018, to Mr. Assange materializes or not.