Former NSA advisor and data privacy advocate Edward Snowden tweeted on Wednesday that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange "could be next," after antivirus maker John McAfee was found dead in a prison in Spain on Wednesday. McAfee, who was 75, died by apparent suicide on Wednesday shortly after the hearing which allowed his extradition to the US on criminal tax evasion charges. Mc Afee's lawyer Javier Villalba confirmed that he died by hanging.
Snowden, who lives in Russian exile, tweeted, "Europe should not extradite those accused of non-violent crimes to a court system so unfair - and prison system so cruel - that native-born defendants would rather die than become subject to it. Julian Assange could be next." He further added, "Until the system is reformed, a moratorium should remain."
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, an Australian, was arrested in April 2019 in the United Kingdom on charges of obtaining and sharing classified information. According to reports, a UK court temporarily blocked his extradition to the US in January 2021 on 18 charges, most through the Espionage Act. Assange, 49, remains in HMP Belmarsh, Britain's harshest jail. He won his extradition battle in January but has not been bailed ahead of an appeal hearing because he is considered a flight risk.
During one of his last hearings, McAfee had expressed that he would remain in jail for the rest of his life if he were to be convicted in the United States."I am hoping that the Spanish court will see the injustice of this." He further added that the United States wants to use him as an example. His lawyer has claimed that he could not stand more time in jail. "This is the result of a cruel system that had no reason to keep this man in jail for so long," Villalba was quoted saying by Reuters.
McAfee was arrested last year in October on charges of tax evasion. It was found that he failed to pay taxes despite making a lot of money during the years 2014 and 2018. McAfee avoided paying the taxes by not taking his income in his bank account. He allegedly got his money paid in the other bank account and cryptocurrency accounts. In 2012, McAfee was accused of murder when he was living in Belize. He was charged for murdering one of his neighbours and American expatriate Gregory Viant Faull.
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