IFJ backs calls to drop charges against Julian Assange

The preliminary hearing of the US government's appeal against the decision not to extradite journalist Julian Assange started on 11 August at the High Court in London. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reiterates its call for the politically motivated charges to be dropped and for his immediate release.

Supporters hold placards in support of Julian Assange in London on August 11, 2021, during the preliminary appeal hearing of the US case for the extradition of Assange to the US. Credits: JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks and an IFJ press card holder, has been held since April 2019 in a maximum security prison in the United Kingdom. He was charged under the Espionage Act in the United States for disclosing classified documents in his work with WikiLeaks (notably documents on the US crimes during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan), he faces 175 years in prison.

On 4 January 2021, the court ruled against the United States’ request to extradite Julian Assange, arguing  that his mental health was at risk. But the US has appealed against the decision, an appeal. If granted, Assange will be extradited to the United States where he could face trial on 18 charges and where his life would be in serious danger.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “President Joe Biden must end the years of politically motivated prosecution of Julian Assange by finally dropping the charges against him. The criminalisation of whistleblowers and investigative journalists has no place in a democracy. Condemning Assange would not only endanger his life but also fundamental principles of press freedom.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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