Mexico’s government is ready to offer political asylum to Julian Assange and supports the decision of a British judge to deny extradition of the WikiLeaks founder to the United States, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday.
“I’m going to ask the Foreign Minister … to ask the government of the United Kingdom about the possibility of letting Mr. Assange be freed and for Mexico to offer political asylum,” Lopez Obrador told a regular news conference.
“Assange is a journalist and deserves a chance, I am in favor of pardoning him,” he said. “We’ll give him protection.”
The extradition request from the United States, where Assange could face charges including breaking a spying law, was denied on the basis that Assange’s mental health problems put him at risk of suicide, a British court ruled.
Lopez Obrador, who called the decision a “triumph of justice”, a year ago urged Britain to release Assange, calling his detention “torture” and saying WikiLeaks documents had showed the world’s “authoritarian” workings.
Assange, 49, has spent most of the last decade either in prison or self-imposed confinement, following his release of thousands of secret classified files and diplomatic cables that caused embarrassment to many governments around the world.
Lopez Obrador, a leftist who took office in December 2018, has long railed against ruling elites and rhetorically has sought to break with establishment politics and economics.
Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Dave Graham and Catherine Evans