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Germany: 130 Big Names Appeal for Assange's Release

More than 130 prominent figures in German society signed an appeal calling for the release of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from a British prison.

The initiative was that of writer Gunter Wallraff and was joined by prominent figures from the world of politics, art and journalism.

At a press conference in Berlin marking the event, the investigative journalist, Gunter Wallraff, expressed that the wide circle of supporters was “remarkable”.

Wallraff called for the “immediate” release of Assange and denounced “the shameful way” he was treated.

Former foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said that Assange “has endured repeated and long-term torture,” which caused him “severe physical and psychological consequences.”

Gabriel added that Assange “is not in a situation neither to position himself mentally for his defence nor has sufficient access to his lawyers,” and for that reason, he called for his “release from prison.”

Another ex-minister Gerhart Baum also backed the call. “We fight for the freedom of the press here, that is a human right, and it means that the press can publish disclosures without pressure,” he said.

Assange has been in a British high-security prison for more than half a year. He is currently serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer found that the WikiLeaks founder was denied his fundamental right to prepare his own defence and that he has been intentionally psychologically tortured by Sweden, Britain, Ecuador and the US.

A British judge has ordered that Assange remains in prison while facing extradition to the US due to what the government consider his previous history of absconding.

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