House Members to Send Letter Calling for Termination of Effort to Prosecute Julian Assange

A Thursday report by Ryan Grim at The Intercept relates that Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is seeking cosigners for a letter to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland calling on him to “uphold the First Amendment’s protections for the freedom of the press by dropping the criminal charges against Australian publisher Julian Assange and withdrawing the American extradition request currently pending with the British government.”

So far, reports Grim, Tlaib has lined up three cosigners for the letter — “Democratic Reps. Jamaal Bowman, Ilhan Omar, and Cori Bush.” That list of cosigners will likely grow. Grim notes in his article three more Democratic representatives who either intend to sign the letter or agree with the call in the letter to withdraw the criminal charges and extradition request concerning Assange:

Rep. Ro Khanna said he had yet to see the letter but added that he has previously said Assange should not be prosecuted because the charges are over-broad and a threat to press freedom. Rep. Pramila Jayapal is not listed as a signee but told a Seattle audience recently she believes the charges should be dropped. A spokesperson for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that she intends to sign before the letter closes.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) is another House of Representatives member on record as supporting ending the US Justice Department’s efforts to extradite and prosecute Assange. Massie, who is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute, is quoted as follows in a July press release announcing the introduction of bill to protect whistleblowers as well as journalists involved in publishing classified information:

The ongoing attempts to prosecute journalists like Julian Assange under the Espionage Act threaten our First Amendment rights, and should be opposed by all who wish to safeguard our constitutional rights now and in the years to come.

Tlaib’s letter, included in Grim’s article, is rather long. Maybe some House members who support the general goal of the letter will find something objectionable in the letter. In that case, a second letter or additional letters can be sent as well. The important thing is that more House members make known their support for freedom of the press and, in particular, for the termination of US government efforts to extradite and prosecute Assange.

Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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