Release date: 4 January 2021
The Chartered Institute of Journalists welcomes the decision of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser that Wikileaks found Julian Assange cannot be extradited to the US for trial on espionage charges.
The Institute calls on the United States authorities to withdraw their extradition process and not pursue an appeal.
The Institute believes this has been a disproportionate and vengeful attack on Mr Assange’s quest to use digital communications to further freedom of information.
Institute President Professor Tim Crook says: “Julian Assange is a significant freedom of expression activist whose global distribution of information has been shown to be in the public interest. He has also informed professional journalism about facts that needed to be in the public domain.”
For many years, he stayed in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge to avoid being arrested for breaching bail conditions. He has always complained of his fear that the US intended to punish him for releasing confidential information it wanted to keep secret.
Professor Crook added: “The move to extradite Julian Assange has been a terrible attack on press freedom and abuse of the human right to freedom of expression. It could be an awful precedent that could be applied to journalists & their sources anywhere.”
Mr Assange’s plight has been supported by the majority of journalism and human rights NGOs in Britain and abroad.