A COALITION of activists and press freedom groups have called on the US Biden administration to drop extradition efforts against Wikileaks editor Julian Assange.
Activists for press freedom and human rights groups have called on the new White House administration of Joe Biden to end its efforts to have Wikileaks editor Julian Assange extradited from Britain to stand trial in the US.
In an open letter, co-signed by several groups, activists warned that the extradition of the Australian journalist would pose a “grave threat to press freedom”.
“The indictment of Mr. Assange threatens press freedom because much of the conduct described in the indictment is conduct that journalists engage in routinely — and that they must engage in in order to do the work the public needs them to do,” the letter said, adding: “News organizations frequently and necessarily publish classified information in order to inform the public of matters of profound public significance.”
Recently, a London court ruled against Assange’s extradition although the US Justice Department has until Friday to appeal its decision. Julian Assange has been hunted by authorities since publishing a cache of military cables obtained by US intelligence whistleblower Chelsea Manning in 2010.
Between 2012 and 2019 he was sheltered at the Embassy of Ecuador in West London, until the Latin American state handed him over to British authorities. While the Obama administration was cautious to pursue Assange too closely, as his work has been compared to those of other investigative journalists, the Trump Justice department managed to obtain a grand jury indictment in 2018 demanding he stands trial in the US.
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