Founded in 2006 by Julian Assange, Wikileaks offers journalist and others an anonymous, secure online submission system to reveal war crimes, the inner workings of governments, human rights abuses, corporate crimes, and much more. It is one of the most important tools for journalists and whistleblowers, Assange has been one of the most important figures protecting the right to freedom of speech and press.
Thanks to Julian Assange:
- WikiLeaks documents have informed the public about U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and more.
- WikiLeaks documents have released tens of thousands of articles and academic papers.
- WikiLeaks releases have been used in numerous court cases where human rights defenders have been on trial.
- Julian Assange’s only “crime” is that of exposing crimes the U.S. government hoped to keep the world from knowing. Rather than being extradited to the U.S to be tried and imprisoned, he must be released immediately by the U.K. and ensured safe passage home to Australia.
To the Government of the UK,
We, the undersigned, are firmly opposed to the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, where he is facing 18 charges under the Espionage Act and could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.
Assange’s alleged crimes date back to 2010, when the organization he founded, WikiLeaks, transmitted documents to media outlets including Le Monde, The Guardian and The New York Times. The documents, which were provided to WikiLeaks by whistleblower Chelsea Manning, included 250,000 US diplomatic cables and US army reports about military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, exposed cases of torture, abduction and disappearances.
The publication of these documents by media outlets was clearly in the public interest, and not an act of espionage. Julian Assange’s contribution to journalism is undeniable.
If the legal persecution of Assange continues, investigative journalism and press freedom will be the victims, since news organizations regularly rely on and publish classified information to serve the public interest.
We are also concerned about Assange’s health. UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer reported that Assange had been deliberately exposed to inhuman and degrading treatment that could be described as psychological torture.
We urge you to respect the principles of freedom of expression and the defence of journalism, and to respect Assange’s human rights. Rather than being extradited to the U.S to be tried and imprisoned, we urge you to release Assange immediately and ensure his safe passage home to Australia.