Former NSA consultant and data privacy advocate Edward Snowden tweeted on Wednesday that Julian Assange “could be next,” after antivirus mogul John McAfee died by apparent suicide in a Barcelona prison cell following news that he was being extradited to the US on criminal tax evasion charges.
Spanish outlets broke the news of McAfee’s death by suicide on Wednesday.
“Europe should not extradite those accused of non-violent crimes to a court system so unfair – and prison system so cruel – that native-born defendants would rather die than become subject to it. Julian Assange could be next,” Snowden tweeted.
“Until the system is reformed, a moratorium should remain,” he added.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in April 2019 in the United Kingdom, and a UK court temporarily blocked his extradition to the US in January 2021 on 18 charges, most through the Espionage Act, of obtaining and sharing classified information.
Sarah Palin, who was herself a victim of WikiLeaks, has called for Julian Assange to be pardoned in a YouTube video posted yesterday.
The former governor of Alaska begins the video asking for the pardoning of the WikiLeaks founder with: “I am the first one to admit when I make a mistake and I admit that I made a mistake some years ago, not supporting Julian Assange, thinking that he was a bad guy… that he leaked material and I’ve learned a lot since then.”
She said she believed that Julian did the world a favor by fighting for what he believed was right and “what was ultimately proven to be right.”
She added that he deserved a pardon and “all of us to understand more about what he has done in the name of real journalism and that’s getting to the bottom of issues that the public really needs to hear about and benefit from.”
In 2008, Wikileaks posted family photos, private messages, and government emails from Palin’s Yahoo account, weeks after John McCain named her his vice-presidential running mate.
At the time, Palin questioned why he had not been pursued with the same urgency as Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.
However in 2017, she apologized in a Facebook post that read: “This important information that finally opened people’s eyes to democrat candidates and operatives would not have been exposed were it not for Julian Assange.” It closed: “Julian, I apologize.”
In Saturday’s YouTube video, Palin continued: “Some years ago I publicly spoke out against Julian and I made a mistake. I want more Americans to speak out on his behalf and to understand what it is that he has done, what has been done to him as he has been working on the people’s behalf to allow information to get to us so we could make up our minds about different issues of different people.
“He did the right thing and I support him. And I hope that more and more people, especially as it comes down to the wire, will speak up in support of pardoning Julian. God bless him,” she ends with.
Assange was arrested in April 2019 after seeking asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than six years. He is facing a potential extradition to the US, where he would face conspiracy and espionage charges, which carry a sentence of up to 175 years.
Trump is said to be considering pardoning him, calls for which have recently intensified ahead of Joe Biden being sworn in as president, since he has previously referred to Assange as a “high-tech terrorist.”