Mexico ready to offer Assange political asylum
Mexico said on Monday that it was ready to offer political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, after a British judge blocked his extradition to the United States to face espionage charges.
“I’m going to ask the foreign minister to carry out the relevant procedures to request that the UK government releases Mr Assange and that Mexico offers him political asylum,” said Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. “Assange is a journalist and deserves a chance.”
Lopez Obrador added Mexico would ensure “that whoever receives asylum does not intervene or interfere in the political affairs of any country.”
Arturo Sarukhan, a former Mexican ambassador to the US, said the asylum offer risked causing tensions with US President-elect Joe Biden.
He said Lopez Obrador appeared to be ignoring or overlooking WikiLeaks’ publication of 20,000 hacked emails from the US election campaign team of Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The Mexican president “is turning the issue into another potential area of friction with the next US administration.”
Lopez Obrador’s relations with Biden had already got off to a rocky start as he was one of the last high-profile leaders to congratulate him on his victory.