In the letter to fellow House members, Massia and McGovern ask them to join them to "strongly encourage the Biden administration to withdraw the US extradition request currently pending against Australian publisher Julian Assange and halt all prosecutorial proceedings against him as soon as possible."
Assange, who has been held in London's Belmarsh prison since April 2019, faces up to 175 years if extradited to the US and convicted for exposing US war crimes. He's been charged under the Espionage Act for publishing classified documents he received from a source, a standard journalistic practice, meaning his conviction would have grave implications for press freedom in the US and around the world.
Bank in April, seven House Democrats led by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland calling for the Justice Department to drop its pursuit of Assange. Massie and McGovern mention Tlaib's effort in their letter that will be sent to President Biden once signatures are collected.
"Last April, several Members of Congress argued to Attorney General Merrick Garland that 'every day that the prosecution of Julian Assange continues is another day that our own government needlessly undermines our own moral authority abroad and rolls back the freedom of the press under the First Amendment at home.'" the Massie-McGovern letter reads.