Executives of international journalists’ associations today demanded from Geneva the “release” of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the “name of press freedom”.
On June 17, the British government announced that it had signed a decree for the extradition of 50-year-old Assange to the United States from Belmars Prison near London, where he has been held for three years.
The WikLeaks founder faces charges of 18 counts in the United States and faces up to 175 years in prison for leaking in 2010 to a site of some 700,000 classified documents related to US military operations mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the signatories of the appeal – including the heads of journalists’ associations from France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Australia – the decision of the British government is a “gross violation of human rights” and shows “complete contempt to the freedom of the press “.
Assange’s extradition “will have serious implications for investigative journalism as any use of classified or confidential documents may be prosecuted”, urging journalists “not to disclose information in the public interest from protected official sources”.