Ten Icelandic MPs from five different parties have sent the US Ambassador in Iceland a letter urging the country to drop its charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, RÚV reports. This comes in the wake of the recent revelation that a key witness in the US’s indictment of Assange, Sigurður Þórðarson (also known as Siggi the Hacker), has admitted to fabricating his accusations against his former mentor.
Assange is currently in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, where he has been held since being arrested in April 2019 for skipping bail seven years ago. The US is seeking his extradition on charges of espionage, charges which the cosigning MPs say are an attempt to criminalize investigative journalism and set a bad precedent for freedom of the press throughout the world. If extradited and convicted, Assange could face a sentence of 175 years in prison.
The letter also cites a report written by Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which stated that as a result of the charges, Assange has been subjected to isolation, disgrace, and stripped of his fundamental human rights.
The letter comes in the wake of a special investigative report published (in English) by Icelandic outlet Stundin, in which Sigurður Þórðarson, an Icelandic hacker recruited by the US “to build a case against Assange after misleading them to believe he was previously a close associate of his,” admitted, among other things, that Assange “never asked him to hack or access phone recordings of MPs.”
The letter was co-signed by Helga Vala Helgadóttir and Guðmundur Andri Thorsson (Social Democratic Alliance), Ari Trausti Guðmundsson (Left Green), Halldóra Mogensen, Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir, Björn Leví Gunnarsson, and Andrés Ingi Jónsson (Pirate Party), Hanna Katrín Friðriksson and Jón Steindór Valdimarsson (Reform Party), and Inga Sæland (People’s Party).