The “Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign,” dedicated to gathering support against the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, is launching a virtual political rally in the metaverse.
Assange has been confined within Belmarsh Prison in London since April 2019, fighting a court battle against his extradition to the U.S., where he could potentially face up to 175 years in prison on charges of espionage for leaking information about the wrongdoings of the US agencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Assange founded WikiLeaks, which have been known to publish classified and sensitive information against wrongdoings of various governments in the public domain. However, his journalistic work exposing governments has made him a primary target of several agencies, especially in the United States.
The Julian Assange campaign, backed by Assange and his family, has planned the virtual political rally in a bid to appeal to more people and gather support against the extradition after his last appeal in June against the extradition was rejected by the United Kingdom court.
The virtual event will be held on Aug. 26 in Wistaverse, a not-for-profit metaverse in The Sandbox ecosystem on the Polygon blockchain. The political rally will see speeches by Stella Assange, wife of Julian Assange, Kristinn Hrafnsson, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, and other high-profile guests, including British politician Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the country’s Labour Party. The speakers at the rally will appear either as characters inside the event or with filmed contributions shown on screens.
Cointelegraph got in touch with John Rees, the founder and director of the Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign, who said that they selected to hold a virtual rally in the hope of reaching a wider audience. Rees added that the reason for the rally is:
“To publicize the Assange case and to mobilize people for the protest at the court. To make sure that people know that this is the 11th hour in the Assange case and that if the government goes ahead with extradition a very real blow will have been struck against the freedom of the press.“
The rally will take place in a virtual auditorium designed to look like the Royal Courts of Justice in London, where Assange is set to face his final appeal in the U.K. court system. The virtual environment “dedicated to protests and social action” will feature a recorded message from Assange, as well.
Many organizations involved in civil rights and freedom of the press have supported Assange following the WikiLeaks publication and urged U.S. authorities to drop the case for extradition. Amid former U.S. President Donald Trump’s final days in office — prior to the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021 — crypto users donated more than $400,000 to Assange’s defense team in hopes of a presidential pardon, while a decentralized autonomous organization raised $53 million for the WikiLeaks co-founder in 2022.