- The Guardian
- Issue #2060
We strongly condemn the ongoing extradition proceedings relating to Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder under the Espionage Act and Computer Fraud Abuse Act. Assange has been persecuted for publishing and exposing crimes of the most powerful governments, and the truth about wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, and the environmental destruction by big business and arms companies in so many parts of the world, and files on inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison. The release of the Afghan War Diary and the Iraq War logs sparked debates on American involvement in these two conflicts.
Publishing huge tracts of information has shaken up the political world and started a worldwide discussion around journalism. But the founder Julian Assange and his team are making history, increasing accountability and improving the democratic process as a result. What needs to be understood with regard to the US government’s targeting of Assange is that he was indicted because he publicly exposed details of troublesome activities that the government wanted to keep secret. This is a case about the right of the people to know what the governments are doing in extreme secrecy where there are no witnesses.
The US government’s indictment of him poses a grave threat to press freedom and investigative journalism around the world. The fact is that prosecuting Assange on the charges that have been brought against him would criminalise journalism as news organisations have the right to publish classified information in order to inform the public of matters of profound public significance.
Julian Assange has remained in custody ever since 2019 detained at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison, one of the UK’s toughest detention centres in life-threatening conditions pending extradition to the United States where he faces a 175 year prison sentence.
It’s time the US administration who preach principles of a free press abroad and the importance of journalism, practice what they preach and drop these charges immediately.
Department of international Relations
People’s Liberation Front-JVP SriLanka