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UK/USA: 'travesty of justice' as Assange ruling fails to recognise extradition risks

‘The US government’s indictment poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad’ - Nils Muižnieks

Responding to the High Court’s decision this morning to accept the USA’s appeal against an earlier decision not to allow the extradition of Julian Assange to the USA on charges related to his publishing work, Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, said:

“This is a travesty of justice. 

“By allowing this appeal, the High Court has chosen to accept the deeply flawed diplomatic assurances given by the US that Assange would not be held in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison. 

The fact that the US has reserved the right to change its mind at any time means that these assurances are not worth the paper they’re written on.

“If extradited to the US, Julian Assange could not only face trial on charges under the Espionage Act but also a real risk of serious human rights violations due to detention conditions that could amount to torture or other ill-treatment.

“The US government’s indictment poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad. 

“If upheld, it would undermine the key role of journalists and publishers in scrutinising governments and exposing their misdeeds - and would leave journalists everywhere looking over their shoulders.”

The US extradition request is based on charges directly related to the publication of leaked classified documents as part of Julian Assange’s work with WikiLeaks. 

Publishing information that is in the public interest is a cornerstone of media freedom and the public's right to information about governments’ wrongdoing. It is also protected under international human rights law and should not be criminalised.

Julian Assange is the first publisher to face charges under the Espionage Act.

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