Mexico Offers Political Asylum to WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange after Extradition Ruling
File photo of Julian Assange (Reuters)
Mexico on Monday offered political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, after a British judge blocked his extradition to the United States to face espionage charges.
"I'm going to ask the foreign minister to carry out the relevant procedures to request that the UK government releases Mr. Assange and that Mexico offers him political asylum," President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told reporters. He said Mexico would ensure "that whoever receives asylum does not intervene or interfere in the political affairs of any country."
This Latin American country has previously offered political asylum to high-profile international figures such as former Bolivian president Evo Morales.
Assange is wanted on 18 charges in the United States relating to the 2010 release by WikiLeaks of 500,000 secret files detailing aspects of military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. If convicted in the US, the 49-year-old Australian publisher faces up to 175 years in jail.
British District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Monday that Assange's actions in leaking secret documents went "well beyond" that of a journalist, and he would have been "well aware" of the dangers the leak posed.
But facing the "harsh conditions" likely in the US jail system, Assange's mental health would deteriorate, "causing him to commit suicide" with the determination of a person with autism spectrum disorder, she ruled, siding with a diagnosis by psychologists.