#FreeAssange: Sign to urge UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to reject Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States!
Home Secretary Priti Patel has signed the order to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, where he faces a prison term of up to 175 years on several counts related to the publication of information of general interest on Wikileaks. After an extradition procedure initiated for more than two years before the courts of the United Kingdom, the fate of Julian Assange is once again a political decision of the Ministry of the Interior - the same one which had already taken the decision to green-light the extradition request to the United States in 2019.
Julian Assange has 14 days to appeal the decision. His wife Stella Assange and Wikileaks have already declared that they would use this remedy. Meanwhile, Julian Assange is still being held in Belmarsh high security prison, a situation that puts his mental and physical health at risk.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns this decision which constitutes a failure of the British government to protect press freedom and which will have serious repercussions on journalism throughout the world.
If extradited to the United States, he faces up to 175 years in prison on 18 counts in connection with the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents released on Wikileaks in 2010, denouncing war crimes and human rights violations and highlighting a considerable volume of publications of general interest in the world. RSF is fully convinced that Julian Assange has been targeted for having greatly contributed to the defense of journalism.
The extradition and indictment of Julian Assange would set a dangerous precedent for journalism and press freedom worldwide. He would be the first whistleblower to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act, without being able to benefit from a public interest defense. This case law could apply to any journalist, or whistleblower, or any other source who reveals information classified as confidential, which would have a particularly deterrent effect internationally.
While the prosecution of Julian Assange was brought by the US government, the UK government has also failed to protect journalism and freedom of the press in its treatment of Julian Assange, placing him in pre-trial detention for more than three years in the maximum security prison of Belmarsh in London, which is strictly contrary to the United Kingdom's commitment to the promotion and protection of freedom of the media in the world.
Meanwhile, the prolonged detention of Julian Assange poses a high risk to his mental and physical health, especially since he suffered a micro-stroke in Belmarsh prison, amid the review of the case by the High Court in October 2021. These mental health issues would be significantly aggravated if extradited to the United States, even if the US government honors the diplomatic assurances it has given regarding his treatment . In other words, the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States puts his life in danger.
After more than a decade since the opening of the proceedings against Julian Assange, it is now high time that the UK government ensure the protection of journalism and freedom of the press by refusing to allow him to be extradited to the United States and stands up for #FreeAssange without delay.
Over 90,000 #FreeAssange supporters signed our previous petition from 2020 urging the UK not to comply with the US request to extradite Assange. Can you help us beat that number now ?
As a matter of urgency, please sign this petition calling on Home Secretary Priti Patel to refuse the extradition request and #FreeAssange!