Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, won this Monday (24) the right to appeal to the British Supreme Court over his extradition to the US, granted last December by a London court. One step away from his removal from the UK, the Australian journalist and activist was given a life span to fight alleged US government charges that could put him in prison for 175 years.
The accusations made by the US Department of Justice against Assange refer to the publication of hundreds of thousands of confidential military information in 2010 and 2011. To convince the judges, the US justice even uses its decrepit Espionage Act, from the time of the First World War. The information, published on the WikiLeaks website, exposes possible US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The saga of Julian Assange
Assange is currently being held at the high-security Belmarsh prison in Thamesmead in south-east London, after Ecuador revoked his political asylum at its London embassy in April 2019, where he had been since 2012. But the WikiLeaks founder obtained, in a lower court decision in early 2021, a suspension of his extradition to the US. However, in December, the US managed to reverse the decision again in London.
After the US victory, Amnesty International went public, calling the British court’s decision a “farce of justice”. According to the world human rights organization, the charge against Assange represents “a serious threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad.”
According to the organization’s release, released after the decision to extradite Assange to the US, “if it is upheld, it would undermine the critical role of journalists and editors in investigating governments and exposing their wrongdoings.” An extradition of Assange could put journalists around the world under constant threat, the note concludes.