Julian Assange Appeals in Most Important Press Freedom Case in the World

London’s High Court has scheduled two days of hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday to decide whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may appeal a United States request for extradition to stand trial on espionage charges. Assange will not attend court due to illness.

Julian Assange Appeals in Most Important Press Freedom Case in the World
  • "The 17 charges of espionage from a district court in East Virginia stem from Assange’s publication in 2010 of hundreds of thousands of pages of classified US military documents on his website, WikiLeaks."
  • "Those charges carry maximum penalties of 175 years, but the real danger, says Assange’s wife Stella, is that he may suffer an inadvertent death penalty instead," reports Al Jazeera.
“His health is in decline, physically and mentally. His life is at risk every single day he stays in prison, and if he’s extradited, he will die,” Assange's wife Stella Assange recently told reporters.
  • "If Wednesday’s decision goes against Assange, his legal team plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights – though a favorable ruling there may not come in time to stop an extradition."
  • "The files, widely reported in Western media, revealed evidence of what many consider to be war crimes committed by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. They include video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed 11 people, including two Reuters journalists."
“This case is the first in which the US government has relied on the 1917 Espionage Act as the basis for the prosecution of a publisher,” Jameel Jaffer, a professor of law and journalism at Columbia University, told Al Jazeera.
  • “A successful prosecution of Assange on the basis of this indictment would criminalise a great deal of the investigative journalism that is absolutely crucial to democracy,” she added.
  • Assange has already spent seven years in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he sought asylum, and since 2019 has been in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison.
  • You can follow live updates from the court hearing here.

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