Today, a UK judge rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Espionage Act and CFAA charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of secret Defense and State Department documents that made global headlines in 2010 and 2011.
The judge based her decision on the fact that the United States prison system is so repressive, Assange would be a serious suicide risk if he was sent to the U.S.
Virtually all major press freedom and human rights groups have condemned the US government’s attempt to prosecute Assange as an existential threat to journalists’ rights.
The following statement can be attributed to Freedom of the Press Foundation executive director Trevor Timm, who testified as an expert witness in the UK hearings on behalf of the defense:
Today’s ruling is a huge sigh of relief for anyone who cares about press freedom. While the judge’s opinion contains many worrying assertions that disregard journalists’ rights, her rejection of the Trump administration’s extradition request means the US government likely won’t be able to obtain any precedent that would criminalize common newsgathering and publishing practices. And that is a very good thing.
The Trump administration has indicated it would appeal the decision. A bail hearing for Assange has been set for Wednesday.
Freedom of the Press Foundation again calls on the US Justice Department to immediately drop its charges against Assange and for the UK to release him from prison.
We will have more on this case as it develops.