Julian Assange is unlikely to win his case because of political reasons, according to the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, who spoke at a press briefing in London on Tuesday.
"I don't believe we are going to win this in legal argument," said Kristinn Hrafnsson. "That's why I urge people to mobilize and put pressure on it because the judges are not acting in a vacuum. There is no chance that Julian will get a fair trial here, or in the U.S., unless there is a chance of reporting that people actually start speaking out."
He urged members of the public to lobby their political representatives on Assange's behalf.
"There has to be pressure on politicians to intervene, because this is a corrupt political case," he said.
Hrafnsson said Assange had been extremely unwell during the last 10 days and that he had been moved from Belmarsh prison in London to a hospital.
"We are not talking about a prosecution, we are talking about persecution," he added.
The Independent newspaper, meanwhile, says the United States Justice Department delivered a formal extradition request for Assange on Thursday, meaning further U.S. charges against the WikiLeaks co-founder are unlikely. The request was in line with a treaty between the U.S. and the UK that requires such moves to be made within 60 days of an arrest. Assange was arrested on April 11.
Assange is facing 18 charges in the U.S. that mostly relate to obtaining and disseminating classified information in relation to the alleged publishing of military documents and diplomatic cables on the WikiLeaks website.
The U.S. Justice Department is understood to have decided not to charge Assange in connection with his alleged exposure of some of the CIA's most secret spying tools, deciding instead to pursue one count connected to allegedly assisting former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in leaking information, and a 17-count Espionage Act indictment.
Assange is serving a 50-week sentence in the UK for breaching the nation's bail conditions as a result of him claiming political asylum in Ecuador's embassy in London in 2012. He reportedly entered the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden after that nation pursued him in connection with a 2010 rape allegation that Assange has repeatedly strenuously denied.
He is still under investigation in Sweden for the alleged rape and a court there last week rejected a request from Swedish prosecutors to detain him in absentia, which suggests the nation's prosecutor will not immediately request his extradition from Britain.
Christophe Marchand, a European Court of Human Rights and International Court of Justice lawyer, said at the press briefing on Tuesday: "We believe, from the human rights perspective, whistle-blowing is fundamental in the 21st century."
He said, in the era of the internet, "WikiLeaks invented a system for whistle-blowers".