Amnesty International condemns U.K. extradition of Julian Assange to U.S.

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Embattled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has the support of Amnesty International, which condemned this weekend Britain’s planned extradition of Mr. Assange to the United States.

“Allowing Julian Assange to be extradited to the US would put him at great risk and sends a chilling message to journalists the world over,” Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard said in a statement.

“Diplomatic assurances provided by the US that Assange will not be kept in solitary confinement cannot be taken on face value given previous history,” she added.

Mr. Assange’s WikiLeaks media organization has published classified documents and other sensitive material shared anonymously, leading to years of hiding from legal repercussions.

After spending seven years in Ecuador’s embassy in the U.K., Mr. Assange was incarcerated to wait for extradition at a London prison starting in 2019.

The administration of former President Trump charged Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917, and Britain’s Conservative government has been cooperating with the U.S. extradition request.

SEE ALSO: New York Times, other newspapers pen open letter calling on feds to stop prosecution of Assange

American prosecutors contend that Mr. Assange assisted former U.S. military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in the theft and publication of classified information that was posted on WikiLeaks by September 2011.

Manning was convicted in 2013, released from a military prison in 2017 after getting a commutation from former President Obama, then convicted in a separate case relating to WikiLeaks before being released again in March 2020.

Amnesty International has condemned the Assange extradition quest on the grounds of press freedom and calls for the charges to be dropped against Mr. Assange.

“We call on the UK to refrain from extraditing Julian Assange, for the US to drop the charges, and for Assange to be freed,” Ms. Callamard said.

Mr. Assange has influential backers elsewhere as well.

In November 2022, the editors of the New York Times, Britain’s The Guardian, Germany’s Der Spiegel, France’s Le Monde and Spain’s El Pais newspapers penned an open letter calling for an end to the prosecution of Mr. Assange.

Brazilian President Ignacio Lula da Silva in May denounced the lack of support being given to Mr. Assange.

“It is an embarrassment that a journalist who denounced trickery by one state against another is arrested, condemned to die in jail and we do nothing to free him. It’s a crazy thing,” Mr. Lula said.

Mr. Assange is an Australian national and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said later in May that “nothing is served from the ongoing incarceration of Julian Assange.”

Australian opposition leader Peter Dutton also has called for Mr. Assange’s release.

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