UK government approves Assange’s extradition to US

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received on Friday morning (17) the authorization of extradition to the United States from the British government. If extradited, the journalist should face espionage charges for publishing hundreds of thousands of leaked documents that denounce atrocities committed by the US, mainly in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, during the so-called war on terror, and be sentenced to 175 years in prison.

Image: LapaiIr Krapai/

Shortly after Priti Patel’s announcement, WikiLeaks issued a statement saying that anyone in the country who cares about freedom of expression should be “deeply ashamed” that the interior minister approved Julian Assange’s extradition.

“This is a dark day for freedom of the press and for British democracy,” the statement reads.

“Julian didn’t do anything wrong…”. “It was in Priti Patel’s power to do the right thing. Instead, she will forever be remembered as an accomplice of the United States in its agenda to turn investigative journalism into a criminal enterprise.”

“Today is not the end of the fight. It’s just the beginning of a new legal battle. We will appeal through the legal system; the next appeal will be before the higher court.”

“Julian didn’t do anything wrong. He has committed no crime and is not a criminal. He is a journalist and an editor, and he is being punished for doing his job.”

The British government’s decision also caused a wave of condemnation by human rights and press freedom organisations.

Julian Assange_freedom of the press

Image: @DEAcampaign

Director Rebecca Vincent of Reporters Without Borders’ international campaign against extradition described it as “shameful”. “Another UK failure to protect journalism and press freedom, bringing Julian Assange one step closer to the outcome of extradition,” she criticized.

On Twitter, former CIA agent Edward Snowden also commented on Friday’s news. “Hard to believe, but it feels real. Every serious press freedom group in the world protested this. It is a terrible symbol of how much the British and American governments’ commitment to human rights has declined.”, he lamented.

“How can we condemn authoritarian abuses abroad like this?”, asks Snowden, referring to the narrative repeated exhaustively by so-called democratic Western countries regarding the actions of authoritarian governments.

Snowden also asked not to extradite the journalist using the hashtag #DontExtraditeAssange (“Don’t extradite Assange”, in free translation).

The authorization comes after a long battle lasting a decade, when the political persecution was continued by then President Obama of the journalist, who asked for asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and stayed there until he was dragged away by the British police in April 2019. Since then , Assange, 50, awaits the decision at Belmarsh maximum security prison.

While the decision is a severe blow to Assange’s defense, lawyers for the WikiLeaks editor have 14 days to appeal the minister’s decision. Supporters of the Australian’s cause ask for donations to the crowdfunding campaign to raise funds in defense of the journalist.

UK government approves Assange's extradition to US

Image: Assange Defense

Under development…

with information from Associated Press, vice, The Guardian and The Dissenter

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