Assange Case Puts Future of Journalism at Stake

February 18, 2020

The current director of Wikileaks, Kristin Hrafnsson, warned today that the extradition of Julian Assange, to the United States, who faces up to 175 years in prison, would not only endanger the life of the Australian journalist, but also the future of journalism.

According to the Icelandic communicator, the case has been politicized since senior U.S. government officials attacked Wikileaks in 2010 for releasing evidence of war crimes committed by the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It has been a political case since Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in 2017, when he was director of the CIA, that WikiLeaks was a hostile intelligence source, added Hrafnsson, who questioned the charges of hacking and damages brought by US prosecutors, and said that Assange’s defense has credible arguments to demand that they be dismissed.

The press conference was also attended by Australian MPs George Christensen and Andrew Wilkie, who were going to visit Assange in Belmarsh maximum-security prison in East London on Tuesday.

The two MPs said they were part of the Bring Assange Home parliamentary committee, advocating that the founder of Wikileaks be sent to Australia.

This is an Australian citizen that a British court will decide if he will be extradited to another foreign country and there is clearly something wrong with that, said Christensen, who urged UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to dismiss the case before the trial.

After saying he is a great admirer of Johnson and U.S. President Donald Trump, the conservative parliamentarian said he is an even greater admirer of freedom of the press, which he said is clearly under attack in Assange’s case.

For her part, attorney Jennifer Robinson said the extradition trial that will begin next Monday could take months, and like Hrafnsson considered that the case could set a bad precedent for world journalism.

Hrafnasson also called attention to Assange’s poor health as a result of his imprisonment that dates back to 2012, when he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he was accused of alleged sexual crimes that were later dismissed.

In a bit of good news, Hrafnsson reported that Assange’s physical conditions had improved considerably since he was released from the solitary confinement to which he had been subjected to since his imprisonment last April.

Source: Prensa Latina, translation Resumen Latinoamericano North America bureau