Rep. Thomas Massie to Bring Julian Assange’s Brother to Biden’s State of the Union Address

Rep. Thomas Massie has invited Gabriel Shipton, brother of imprisoned publisher Julian Assange, to attend the State of the Union Address as his guest.

Shipton is a prominent advocate for his brother’s release.

Assange has been held at Belmarsh prison in London since April 2019 as the US government works to extradite him. Before his arrest, he had been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy with asylum since June 2012.

He is currently facing charges under the Espionage Act for publishing the Iraq and Afghan War Logs. If convicted, Assange could face a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.

“The U.S. government’s ongoing effort to prosecute Julian Assange threatens the First Amendment rights of Americans and should be opposed,” Massie said in a statement provided to The Gateway Pundit.

Massie continued, “During his term in office, I asked President Trump to pardon Mr. Assange, and I was disappointed by his failure to do so. President Biden should drop the criminal charges currently being pursued by the Department of Justice. I am pleased Mr. Shipton has accepted my invitation to join me at the State of the Union.”

“I am honored to be Representative Massie’s guest at the State of the Union address,” said Shipton.

“The prosecution of Julian Assange is a direct attack on the 1st amendment and the freedom of the press to publish information in the public interest,” Shipton continued. “Rep. Massie is a fierce defender of these rights having introduced legislation that would protect my brother Julian and put an end to the espionage act being weaponised against publishers. I hope President Biden, can take a new look at the indictment and see it for the threat to democracy that it is.”

Massie’s office said they hope Shipton’s appearance at the State of the Union will bring additional attention to a bipartisan letter Rep. Massie and Rep. Jim McGovern previously sent to Biden on Assange’s behalf.

The letter asks President Biden to “halt all prosecutorial proceedings” against Julian Assange “as soon as possible.”

“It is the duty of journalists to seek out sources, including documentary evidence, in order to report to the public on the activities of government,” the letter read. “The United States must not pursue an unnecessary prosecution that risks criminalizing common journalistic practices and thus chilling the work of the free press. We urge you to ensure that this case be brought to a close in as timely a manner as possible.”

The bipartisan letter was also signed by Rep. Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sen. Rand Paul.

The State of the Union Address is scheduled to be delivered by Biden on Thursday, March 7 at 9:00 PM EST.

 

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