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Extradition of Assange will set dangerous precedent for press freedom worldwide

Stella Assange, human rights activist and wife of Julian Assange, speaks to supporters outside the U.K. High Court on February 20, 2024 in London. (Photo: Carl Court)

To supporters of Julian Assange this is not just about the extradition of one man, but also about the profound consequences that it will have for press freedom in the UK and elsewhere around the world.

Julian Assange's supporters, legal team and family are once again disappointed in the UK's justice system.

Now the UK courts have invited the United States to issue assurances.

The Biden administration should not issue assurances; they should drop this shameful case that should never have been brought.

Julian should never have been imprisoned for a single day. This is a shame on every democracy.

Stella Assange

Based on the new judgment, in three weeks, the US should give assurances that Assange will not face the death penalty in the US before judges consider dismissing the WikiLeaks founder's bid to bring an extradition appeal.

This comes despite revelations in 2021 that senior CIA officials during the Trump administration had discussed abducting, and even assassinating, Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had sought asylum for seven years.

It is for publishing nearly half a million classified documents relating to the US led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that the American government wants Assange extradited.

His supporters say they fear he will be jailed for life.

To supporters of Julian Assange this is not just about the extradition of one man, but also about the profound consequences that will have for press freedom here, in the UK, and around the world.

A fact highlighted by those who have campaigned for years to secure Assange's freedom.

The message that Julian Assange's extradition case will send around the world is that the United States Department of Justice can reach out anywhere in the world, whether you're a British citizen, whether you're an Australian citizen, wherever you're from, and claim that you're a spy and you have revealed classified information, as though you were a spy.

Joe Brack, Committee to Defend Julian Assange

The latest ruling means the legal saga, which has dragged on for more than a decade, will continue and Assange will remain inside London's high security Belmarsh prison, where he has spent the last five years.

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