Not too late: US extradition of Julian Assange must be dropped

In advance of Julian Assange’s next hearing in the UK courts ahead of his possible extradition to the US, Amnesty International Australia reiterates concerns that Assange faces the risk of serious human rights violations if extradited and warns of a profound ‘chilling effect’ on global media freedom.

Amnesty International Australia holds grave concerns that should he be extradited to the US, Mr Assange faces a real risk of serious human rights violations including possible detention conditions that would amount to torture, and other ill-treatment including solitary confinement.

Julian Assange’s publication of disclosed documents as part of his work with Wikileaks mirrors conduct that investigative journalists undertake regularly in their professional capacity. US prosecution of Julian Assange on espionage charges for acts of journalism will intensify the chilling effect on global media, leading journalists to self-censor from fear of prosecution.

Rose Kulak, Amnesty International Australia campaigner says:

“The US government’s unrelenting pursuit of Julian Assange for having published disclosed documents that included possible war crimes committed by the US military is nothing short of a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression.”

“If Julian Assange is extradited, it will establish a dangerous precedent wherein the US government could target publishers and journalists around the world for extradition and prosecution. There is a very real risk that other countries could take the US example and follow suit.”

Rose Kulak, Amnesty International Australia Campaigner

“For years, people across Australia from all walks of life have worked together to call for Julian Assange to be returned to Australia. Just last week, this tireless people-powered effort pushed the Australian parliament, including Prime Minister Albanese, to pass a motion calling for the UK and the USA to stop their pursuit of Mr Assange. It’s time for the US government to listen to Australia and drop the charges before it’s too late.”