A British judge has ruled today that Julian Assange could be extradited to the United States. Only the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has not signed an extradition treaty. Patel has until May 18 to decide on his extradition. According to Amnesty International, despite promises from America, Assange will face a high risk of falling victim to human rights abuses in American prisons.
The UK has an obligation not to send anyone to a place where their safety is threatened. The UK government cannot ignore that responsibility,” said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general. during his detention.”
According to Callamard, Julian Assange’s extradition would also have devastating consequences for the freedom of the press and the public, who have the right to know what the government is doing on their behalf.
“Publishing information in the public interest is one of the core values of press freedom,” Callamard said. “Extrading Assange to face charges of espionage by publishing classified information will set a dangerous precedent and prompt journalists around the world to be vigilant.”
Long-term solitary confinement is a common occurrence in US maximum security prisons. In addition, these prisons are subject to torture and ill-treatment of detainees, which is prohibited under international law. The United States guarantee to provide Assange with fair treatment is flawed and may be revoked at any time. This means that if Julian Assange is extradited to the United States, he could face serious violations of his human rights. Superficial diplomatic guarantees will not protect him.
If the UK government allows another country to criminally prosecute someone who publishes information from the UK, other countries can follow suit. They can use the same legal means to imprison journalists and silence the press far beyond their own borders.
“Assange should never have been charged in the first place for these cases,” said Agnes Callamard. It’s not too late for US authorities to do the right thing and drop the charges. Meanwhile, given the political nature of this case and its serious implications for freedom of expression, the UK should not support the United States in any further appeals.”
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