On Thursday 13 January at 19:30 GMT:
It’s been more than a decade since the website WikiLeaks 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 against a British ruling that will allow him to be extradited to the US.
Last month, a British Supreme Court ruled that Assange could be extradited to the United States on charges of burglary and violation of the US Espionage Act. The verdict is against a lower court that previously said harsh US prison conditions would endanger Assange given his deteriorating mental and physical health.
Assange’s legal team has since lodged an appeal with Britain’s Supreme Court, but in order to be considered, it must be “public interest”.
In 2019, the Trump administration sued Assange for violating the U.S. Espionage Act on charges related to the WikiLeaks release of secret U.S. military documents and diplomatic cables. The US claims that the release of classified information endangers the lives of US allies.
Twenty-four civil liberties and press freedom groups, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, PEN America and Reporters Without Borders, have called on the Biden administration to halt its prosecution against Assange. In a joint letter to the US Department of Justice, they argue that Assange’s prosecution could set a precedent that would jeopardize press freedom and the safety of journalists reporting on national security issues.
Assange spent seven years in a shelter at the Ecuadorian embassy in London and was eventually arrested in 2019. Last week, Assange’s supporters celebrated his 1,000th day of jail time at London’s Belmarsh High Security Prison.
In this episode of The Stream, we discuss the prospects for Assange’s cause and its broader implications for press freedom worldwide.