The WikiLeaks co-founder is set to appear at England’s Central Criminal Court on Monday, where District Judge Vanessa Baraitser will deliver her judgment on whether he should be extradited to the US to face charges of violating the 1917 Espionage Act.
If convicted in the US, the 49-year-old could be hit with a 175-year prison sentence due to WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to US wars in the Middle East, as well as diplomatic cables.
Bombshell actress Anderson has been a vocal supporter of Assange for several years and the 53-year-old made an impassioned, last-ditch plea seeking a presidential pardon for the Australian.
“Julian is being charged with journalism. Documents that have exposed war crimes and human rights abuses. Now the US wants to punish him for exposing crimes,” she told the New York Post.
“This will set a precedent where any US journalist can be charged and sent to any country that requests their extradition… And don’t think ‘it won’t happen to me,’ because it absolutely could, and countries will use it to silence whatever they don’t like the sound of,” she added.
The comments were echoed by WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson, who said “The mere fact that this case has made it to court let alone gone on this long is a historic, large-scale attack on freedom of speech.”
Anderson met Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2014 after being introduced to him by fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.
She visited him multiple times during his seven-year exile in the embassy before he was handed over to British police by the Ecuadorian authorities. She was also reportedly Assange’s first visitor, outside of his legal team, when he was moved to Belmarsh Prison in southeast London.
“It’s madness. He is… crammed in amongst murderers in a prison that is rife with Covid,” she said of the conditions Assange is facing.