Following the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US President Donald Trump has stated that he is unfamiliar with the disclosure platform. "I do not know about WikiLeaks," Trump told journalists in the White House, adding, "That's not my business."
He has heard what happened to Assange, and it is now up to US Attorney William Barr to make a commitment. When asked, Trump said he had no opinion on the case. During the presidential election campaign of 2016, the Republican had praised WikiLeaks and said he loved the organization. According to the Washington Post, he mentioned the disclosure platform alone in the last month of the election campaign as more than 100.
Assange was arrested on Thursday at the Ecuadorian embassy in London after the Ecuadorian government lifted the diplomatic asylum Assange. The reason: He had violated requirements for it (read all facts about the case Assange).
In the video: The arrest of Julian Assange in London
The US has filed an extradition request to the UK. US Justice accuses Assange of conspiring with whistleblower Chelsea Manning to penetrate a government computer network.
Manning had procured government documents that revealed human rights abuses by the US Army in Afghanistan, among others, and were published by WikiLeaks. Specifically, Assange is accused of helping Manning crack a password on a government computer network.
Assange had also hit the headlines for it in the 2016 presidential election campaign, which revealed stolen e-mails from the Democratic Party. US intelligence agencies claim that the e-mails were downloaded by Russian hackers and leaked to WikiLeaks to harm Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.
Wagenknecht: arrest "a shame"
Politicians from the Left Party and the Greens have criticized the arrest of the WikiLeaks founder in London and turned against an imminent extradition to the United States. Left-wing leader Sahra Wagenknecht described the action against Assange as "a shame" and a "clear violation of international law."
"The arrest of the journalist Julian Assange is also a heavy blow to independent journalism, which will have far-reaching consequences," Wagenknecht said. She also demanded: "The federal government must do everything to prevent the EU member United Kingdom Julian Assange extradited to the US, where he is threatened with life imprisonment or even the death penalty for the disclosure of US war crimes."
Also left-wing vice-president Sevim Dagdelen spoke in the "Bild" newspaper (Friday edition) of a strike against media freedom. Dagdelen had last visited the founder of the Unveiling Platform at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had found refuge for the past seven years, prior to Christmas last year. Accordingly, another visit was planned for this Thursday.
The SWR also spoke of an "international scandal" on the Left-wing faction Heike Hänsel. She pointed out that Ecuador had recognized Assange as a political refugee. Also Hänsel demanded that he should not be extradited to the US and urged the involvement of the Council of Europe. The German government demanded Assange grant asylum in Germany.
The Green politician Hans-Christian Ströbele called the circumstances of the arrest of Assange in the "New Osnabrücker Zeitung" (Friday edition) "extremely dubious".
He also called on the federal government to take action against the extradition of Assange. After all, this "the worst war crimes and scandals brought to the light of the public." If someone is accused of "offenses for obvious political reasons, an extradition contradicts all common laws and regulations – including the US," said the Green Party politician.
The German Association of Journalists (DJV) demanded a rule of law for Assange. For him, "the same whistleblower protection we apply for other tipsters too," said the DJV Federal Chairman Frank Überall in Berlin.