UK grants Assange extradition appeal — but US can end this case now

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Today, the High Court in London granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leave to appeal his extradition to the United States on a limited number of grounds.

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The court ruled that Assange may appeal because the U.S. provided insufficient assurances regarding his First Amendment rights and whether he would be prejudiced at trial because of his nationality.

The following statement can be attributed to Caitlin Vogus, deputy director of advocacy at Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF):

We welcome the High Court’s ruling granting Julian Assange an opportunity to appeal his extradition. Extraditing Assange to the United States to stand trial for publishing government secrets would profoundly harm press freedom in the U.S. and around the world.

On appeal, we urge the court to refuse to extradite Assange. But better yet, the Biden administration can and should end this case now. If Biden continues to pursue the Assange prosecution, he risks creating a precedent that could be used against any reporter who exposes government secrets, even if they reveal official crimes. If the Biden administration cares about press freedom, it must drop the Assange case immediately.

Assange has been indicted in the United States on 18 felony counts, including 17 under the Espionage Act. Under the legal theory the government relies on in the indictment, any journalist could be convicted of violating the Espionage Act for obtaining or receiving national defense information from a source, communicating with a source to encourage them to provide national defense information, or publishing national defense information — acts journalists engage in every day.

Virtually all major civil liberties organizations and major news outlets have denounced the prosecution as a threat to core press freedom rights, as have more than 40 law professors.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you would like further comment on the dangers this case poses to press freedom in the United States. FPF will continue to follow this case closely.

For more resources on the Assange case and the threat it poses to press freedom, visit https://freedom.press/assange/

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