Responding to the High Court’s decision to accept the US’s appeal against the decision not to extradite Julian Assange, Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland 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 are 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 scrutinizing 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 government 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.