Julian Assange
Julian Assange Image Credit: Reuters

Geneva: The wife of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is petitioning the British government's decision to extradite him to the United States, on Monday appealed for clemency from the US president.

The Australian publisher is the object of a US extradition request to face trial for divulging US military secrets about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"(President Joe) Biden could end this anytime. It's not in the administration's interests for Julian to be tried during an election period," said Stella Assange while speaking to the Geneva Press Club.

"The UK is... giving off the signals that it is kind of accelerating and wants Julian extradited. So Julian could very well be extradited by the end of the summer," she said. "The Biden administration would have to deal with that and I don't think that's in their interest."

Assange, 52, is being prosecuted in the United States for having published some 700,000 confidential documents related to US military and diplomatic activities, starting in 2010.

He could face decades in prison, and his supporters portray him as a martyr for press freedom.

Assange was arrested by British police in 2019 after spending seven years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden where he faced accusations of sexual assault.

He has been held for the last four years in the high security prison of Belmarsh, in east London.

"The smart thing" for Biden to do "would be to just stop it and end it," Stella Assange said.

The issue of his extradition is "a Trump era legacy" and represents "a threat" for democracy and the press," she told AFP.

Stella Assange, who is a lawyer, said he could be extradited within weeks. The UK government agreed in June 2022 to his extradition but Julian Assange has appealed.

During the press conference, his wife said that the appeal had been rejected about a month ago but a new petition for review had been filed.

"There's one last chance," she said.

If the application is successful, the case could go to a public hearing in front of two new High Court judges.

If not, the European Court of Human Rights could be the last option for Assange to evade his extradition.

According to his wife, his health is "in decline" after having suffered a "ministroke" in 2021.