The Wikileaks founder and publisher, Julian Assange will appear at a case management hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday October 21 2019. Ahead of the hearing, freedom of expression organisation ARTICLE 19 has urged the UK court not to extradite him to the US, where he faces charges under the Espionage Act for his publishing work.
Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, Thomas Hughes said:
“We urge the UK courts to reject the extradition of Julian Assange to the US, where he would become the first journalist to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act for exposing human rights violations and war crimes.
“This would be an attempt to criminalise the disclosure of information that is in the public interest as well as whistleblowing.
“Earlier this year, the UK and Canadian Governments launched a campaign to defend media freedom and improve the safety of journalists who report across the world. If the UK extradites Assange, it will be an assault on press freedom that will threaten the work of investigative journalists and whistleblowers.”
Assange was arrested in April for having fled bail in the UK in 2012, related to an investigation into allegations of sexual assault in Sweden, and a linked extradition request; which was revoked in May 2017.
On May 23, 2018, the US justice department filed 17 new charges against Assange. These include charges for violation of the Espionage Act by publishing classified information through WikiLeaks. The Espionage Act has been criticised for being vaguely worded and overly broad and failing to meet international human rights standards.
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