Mexican president vows ‘to tear down the Statue of Liberty’

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he’ll stress the US to drop prices in opposition to Julian Assange

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says the image of America’s freedom might lose its which means if Washington refuses to drop prices in opposition to Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, who faces the prospect of 175 years in jail.

In the event that they take him to the USA and he’s sentenced to the utmost penalty and to die in jail, we should begin a marketing campaign to tear down the Statue of Liberty,” Lopez Obrador stated at a information convention on Monday. For Washington to convict Assange would verify that the world-famous monument in New York Harbor “is not an emblem of freedom,” he continued.

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His statements got here within the wake of criticism printed over the weekend by the Washington Put up and NGO Reporters With out Borders excoriating the Mexican authorities for its supposed failure to guard journalists. The reporters’ advocacy group has referred to as on the Mexican authorities to “overhaul mechanisms for shielding media personnel,” insisting the vast majority of the 12 journalists who’ve been killed up to now this 12 months in Mexico had been murdered due to their work.

Nonetheless, the president, who’s broadly identified by his initials AMLO, dismissed the report as “a smear marketing campaign in opposition to the federal government of Mexico.” 

The Mexican chief skewered what he framed as hypocrisy by the media organizations that eagerly printed data on US conflict crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq obtained and launched by Wikileaks earlier than turning in opposition to the group’s founder. 

When this data was launched, numerous media participated [in its publication]. They agreed to launch all the knowledge as a result of they thought-about that it was a contribution to the protection of human rights, to freedom of expression, to not proceed with the double speak, with the lies, with saying one factor and doing one other,” he stated.

Lopez Obrador had advised reporters final month that he would broach the topic of dropping the fees in opposition to Assange throughout his subsequent assembly with US President Joe Biden. He was invited to talk with the US president after he declined an invite to Biden’s Summit of the Americas, refusing to attend in protest of the occasion’s exclusion of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.

The Wikileaks writer’s legal professionals filed two new appeals final week to contest his extradition to the US. He faces 18 counts of conspiracy to acquire and launch categorized materials and Espionage Act violations stemming from receiving top-secret army paperwork from army analyst Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning in 2010. That’s regardless of one of many key witnesses within the case in opposition to Assange admitting that he fabricated vital elements of his testimony in opposition to the Wikileaks co-founder. 

READ MORE: Julian Assange appeals extradition to US – WSJ

Assange has been successfully confined since 2012, when he sought asylum within the Ecuadorian embassy in London, in search of to keep away from extradition to Sweden the place he confronted doubtful sexual assault prices which have since been dismissed. Quito revoked his asylum in 2019, and the British police transferred him from the embassy to the maximum-security Belmarsh jail, the place he has remained ever since, his well being and psychological state reportedly deteriorating quickly.

Whereas Lopez Obrador has floated the thought of providing Assange political asylum a number of instances, he has not made an express supply up to now.