Assange’s arrest: threat to freedom of publishers

No extradition to US for exposing war crimes


London, UK – 11 April 2019

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who released documents that shamed the United States government, has been arrested today in London by the British police, after he was evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had sought asylum in a bid to avoid extradition to the US to face charges over his publication of these abuses.

Responding to the arrest of Julian Assange today, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

“The decision of the Ecuadorean government to hand over Assange to the UK police is a clear violation of his Ecuadorean citizenship and asylum rights. Ecuador has failed in its duty to protect its citizen.

“Assange’s arrest will put him at risk of extradition to the US, where he will very likely face charges that could see him jailed for 30 or more years. A secret grand jury has been convened to prepare an indictment against Assange and key Trump officials have said that prosecuting Assange is a priority.

“Assange did not leak anything. He published the leaks of Chelsea Manning, as did The Guardian and New York Times. Why is he being singled  out?

“The bid to extradite Assange to the US over his revelations of US war crimes, cover-ups and corruption is an attack on the right to publish the truth. WikiLeaks and Assange are online publishers. The proposed US charges against Assange are an assault on publishing freedom and freedom of expression.

“Assange published evidence of American war crimes. He’s a hero, not a criminal.

“The British government should refuse to do the bidding of the Trump administration. It should give public assurances that Assange will not be handed over the US authorities. His extradition to the US is not in the public interest,” said Mr Tatchell.