On Saturday, October 23, activists and supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange staged a protest at the London’s High Court ahead of his appeal in his extradition case to the United States of America where he is wanted for publishing leaked documents on WikiLeaks.
The preliminary hearing for his extradition started in London on August 11, 2021 but the full appellate hearing is billed to hold between October 27 to 28, 2021.
Reporters Without Borders’ Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent called on the Biden Adminstration to drop its appeal and close the case against Julian Assange, saying that the case has alarming implications for journalism and press freedom. She insisted that Assange should immediately be released but certainly not extradited to the United States.
Similarly, Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth said that Assange’s prosecution for publishing leaked documents represents a global threat to media freedom.
Several other individuals and organisations have called for the release of Julian Assange from prison including United Nations’ human rights expert Agnès Callamard and Ben Wizner from American Civil Liberty Union, all of whom have warned about the implications Assange’s trial will have on global press freedom.
Julian Assange, an activist and investigative journalist, has been detained in Belmarsh Prison, London, since April 11, 2019 when he was arrested in the United Kingdom.
Assange launched WikiLeaks on October 4, 2006 for publishing investigative reports which cannot be available in the mainstream media. Since launching the website, it has released some of the major documents across the world, including Saudi Arabian diplomatic cables, documents detailing how the United States National Security Agency spied on successive French presidents, the Syria Files, Iraq War Logs and several others.