A group of activists in San Francisco’s Bay Area rallied outside the British Consulate General to demand WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s release from a prison in the UK.
On Monday, protesters chanted slogans of “Free Julian Assange!” and “Free journalist whistleblowers!”,
They did not want to remain silent on the issue, accusing the US government of “attacking” the freedom of speech, Xinhua news agency reported.
Marilyn Langlois, a community activist in San Francisco who used to work for the local government, said that she believed Assange had committed no crime and was being held unjustly and tortured in Britain.
Last year, Assange testified in his legal case against a Spanish private security firm that he claims spied on him while he was holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London.
Earlier, an independent UN rights expert Nils Melzer warned that the conditions WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was being held in are putting his life “at-risk”.
Melzer, said in a statement, “Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life,’ the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”.
Melzer, who visited the 48-year-old Australian whistleblower in a London prison on May 9, nearly a month after his arrest at Ecuador’s embassy where he had been holed up for seven years, has previously warned he was being subjected to drawn-out “psychological torture”.
In April, last year, UK police arrested Assange after the South American nation revoked the political asylum that had protected him in the embassy, and he was brought before a British court — the first step in an extradition battle that he has vowed to fight.
Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 after he was released on bail in Britain while facing extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped. He refused to leave the embassy, fearing arrest and extradition to the US for publishing classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks.
He has been facing the extradition request by the US over charges he violated the US Espionage Act by publishing a huge cache of military and diplomatic files in 2010.