On 4 January 2020, the Magistrate Court in London did not approve the extradition of Julian Assange to the US where he would face a risk of ill-treatment in prison.
The US extradition request was based on charges directly related to the publication of leaked classified documents as part of Assange’s work with Wikileaks. Publishing such information is a cornerstone of media freedom and the public’s right to information about government wrongdoing. Publishing information in the public interest is protected under international human rights law and should not be criminalised.
In the US, Assange faces 18 charges, 17 of them under the Espionage Act; and one under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He would also face a real risk of serious human rights violations due to detention conditions that could amount to torture or other ill-treatment, including prolonged solitary confinement. Assange is the first publisher to face charges under the Espionage Act.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a direct link to the people that can drop Assange’s charges: US President Donald Trump, and US President-elect Joe Biden. Amnesty International has written to the Prime Minister urging him to ask Trump and Biden to act.