A U.K. judge ruled against the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder to the U.S. in response to his legal team arguing that he would be „at high risk of severe depression leading to suicide.
Amidst much speculation on social networks that U.S. President Donald Trump might still pardon Julian Assange before leaving the White House, lawyers are preparing WikiLeaks‘ founder for many possible legal outcomes as crypto coin users open their wallets.
According to Twitter user Whale Alert, users donated a considerable amount of Bitcoin (BTC) for the legal defense of WikiLeaks and Assange in the last week. Yesterday, someone sent 8.48 BTC, approximately USD 280,000 at the time of this story’s publication, to help the founder of WikiLeaks, while another user donated 4.51 BTC last Wednesday, a transaction worth USD 125,000.
A donation of 8.48 BTC (USD 281,195) was made to the WikiLeaks donation wallet!
The funds come as Assange’s legal status in the UK remains uncertain. On Monday, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that WikiLeaks‘ founder will not be extradited to the United States. Assange is currently in a UK prison, but could face charges of violating the 1917 Espionage Act related to documents provided by intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning if he is extradited to the United States. At the time of publication of this article, he has not been released.
The ruling appeared to agree with the argument of Assange’s legal team that the founder of WikiLeaks has experienced a „deterioration in his mental health“ due to the impending charges. The lawyers claimed that any extradition to the United States would put him at „high risk of severe depression leading to suicide.
In response to the ruling, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he is willing to offer Assange asylum. According to a Reuters report, Lopez Obrador is in favor of pardoning the founder of WikiLeaks, referring to him as a journalist in need of protection.
„I am going to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs […] to ask the UK government about the possibility of releasing Mr. Assange and for Mexico to offer political asylum,“ the Mexican president said.
Before the decision was made public, some high-profile crypt-money users had expressed their support for Assange, including pressuring Trump to grant Assange a federal pardon before he leaves office on January 20. On Sunday, Blockstream CEO Adam Back implied that Assange should be released given his role as a journalist:
„Julian is a journalist. It’s done. Uncomfortable exposure for embezzlement. It’s like in countries where journalists are missing, but the two of them faced the Western variant of the establishment that doesn’t represent the will of the public, and is a selfish and dishonest tactical war machine.“
Unconfirmed rumors have circulated on social networks that Trump is considering pardoning Assange, along with Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht and whistleblower Edward Snowden. However, with only 16 days left in the White House, the U.S. President’s window of opportunity for granting pardons or clemency is closing.