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European human rights chief against extraditing Assange: “chilling effect on press freedom”'

Friday, February 21st 2020 - 08:32 UTC
Full article 3 comments
Dunja Mijatovic, Europe's Human Rights Commissioner, said Assange's case raised questions about the protection of people who publish classified information in the public interest Dunja Mijatovic, Europe's Human Rights Commissioner, said Assange's case raised questions about the protection of people who publish classified information in the public interest
“The broad and vague nature of allegations against Julian Assange are troubling as many of them concern activities at the core of investigative journalism in Europe and beyond” “The broad and vague nature of allegations against Julian Assange are troubling as many of them concern activities at the core of investigative journalism in Europe and beyond”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the United States because it would have a chilling effect on press freedom, a European human rights chief said on Thursday. Assange, 48, is in prison in London, where an extradition hearing begins next week. The US authorities want to try him on 18 counts including to hack government computers and violating an espionage law.

Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner, said Assange's case raised questions about the protection of people who publish classified information in the public interest, exposing human rights violations.

“The broad and vague nature of the allegations against Julian Assange, and of the offences listed in the indictment, are troubling as many of them concern activities at the core of investigative journalism in Europe and beyond,” she said.

“Consequently, allowing Julian Assange’s extradition on this basis would have a chilling effect on media freedom, and could ultimately hamper the press in performing its task as purveyor of information and public watchdog in democratic societies.”

Mijatovic said she was also concerned about detention conditions in the United States and about the sentence likely to be imposed on Assange. He could spend decades in prison if convicted.

The Council of Europe, which describes itself as the continent's leading human rights organization, has 47 member states including Britain, all of which are signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Assange's WikiLeaks website made global headlines in early 2010 when it published a classified US military video showing a 2007 helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.

Since then, the website has published a vast amount of secret US diplomatic cables and other confidential documents.

Assange presents himself as a champion of free speech holding a superpower to account, but critics accuse him of irresponsibly putting lives at risk with his unedited information dumps.

After WikiLeaks published leaked emails during the 2016 US presidential campaign that damaged Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, he was accused of complicity in Russian efforts to meddle in US politics and undermine the West.

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • Terence Hill

    “It was decided that the laws of the United States must apply to everyone while they were here. Thus, what emerged was TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION.
    https: //www.armstrongeconomics.com/writings/2013-2/international-law-territorial-jurisdiction/
    ”Jurisdiction (from the Latin ius, iuris meaning “law” and dicere meaning “to speak”) is the practical authority granted to a legal body to administer justice within a defined field of responsibility, In federations like the United States, areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels; e.g. the court has jurisdiction to apply federal law.“
    https: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurisdiction
    ”A warrant for the persons apprehension will be prepared and given to the Secretary of State who will then contact the foreign government to begin the international extradition process. The receiving nation then looks to its treaty obligations to the requesting nation and to its own laws on extradition, and decides whether or not to extradite ...“
    https: //criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-procedure/extradition.html
    Undoubtably Assange’s defence is that he is protected person as a journalist.
    ”In a 1977 Supreme Court opinion documenting the limitless scope of the constitutional free press guarantee, Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote: “In short, the First Amendment does not ‘belong’ to any definable category of persons or entities: It belongs to all who exercise its freedoms.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/05/28/indictment-assange-is-blueprint-making-journalists-into-felons/#comments-wrapper

    Feb 21st, 2020 - 12:23 pm +1
  • DemonTree

    You should be talking about extra-territorial jurisdiction Terry, Assange wasn't in the US for any of the 'crimes' he's accused of committing.

    I hope my government does the right thing and refuses this extradition request. Put him on a plane back to Australia and let them deal with him.

    Feb 21st, 2020 - 01:43 pm +1
  • Terence Hill

    I know he wasn't, but I no longer have access to All England Reports et al. I don't feel like spending more than a few minutes on it. Nor do we have all the pertinent facts. My guess is the US will claim he wasn't just acting as a passive journalist, but was an active participant in the break in. If that is the case, then I suspect, his goose is cooked.

    Feb 21st, 2020 - 02:50 pm 0
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