Thursday January 13th at 19:30 GMT:
More than a decade has passed since the WikiLeaks website released hundreds of thousands of classified documents and videos – some of which revealed possible US war crimes. Now, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has another chance to appeal a British ruling allowing his extradition to the United States.
Last month, a British high court ruled that Assange could be extradited to the United States to face charges of hacking and violating the US Espionage Act. The ruling conflicts with a lower court that had previously said that harsh prison conditions in the United States would put Assange at risk due to his deteriorating mental and physical health.
Assange’s legal team has since lodged an appeal with Britain’s Supreme Court, but in order for the appeal to be considered, it must be deemed of “general interest to the public”.
In 2019, the Trump administration charged Assange with violating the US Espionage Act on charges related to WikiLeaks’ release of classified US military documents and diplomatic cables. The United States says the release of classified information puts the lives of American allies at risk.
Twenty-four civil liberties and press freedom groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, PEN America and Reporters Without Borders, have called on the Biden administration to stop its prosecution of Assange. In a joint letter to the US Department of Justice, they argue that Assange’s trial could set a precedent that would harm press freedom and the safety of journalists covering national security issues.
Assange spent seven years in asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, and was eventually arrested in 2019. Last week, Assange’s supporters celebrated the 1,000th day of his imprisonment at Belmarsh maximum security prison in London.
In this episode of The Stream, we’ll discuss the outlook for the Assange case and its broader implications for press freedom around the world.