WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristin Hrafnsson said Julian Assange's extradition to the U.S. would damage the UK's reputation as a guardian of press freedom.
According to Hrafnsson, turning his colleague to the U.S. justice system for political persecution would be unacceptable. The editor-in-chief made his statements when interviewed by G.B. News on the eve of British Home Secretary Priti Patel's ruling on the Australian journalist's fate.
The U.S. justice system charges Assange with 17 espionage charges plus one for cyber intrusion over WikiLeaks' publication of U.S. military irregularities in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Should a U.S. court try and convict Assange, the cyberactivist may face up to 175 years in prison out of the 17 charges against him.
The WikiLeaks founder took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid being extradited to the U.S. or Sweden. He has been held in the British prison of Belmarsh since April 2019, when former Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno withdrew his political refugee status.
Last April, a decision on Assange's future was left in the hands of the British government by Westminster Magistrates' Court, following the London High Court's acceptance of the prosecution's appeal against an earlier verdict opposing his extradition on the grounds that his life would be in danger if he were imprisoned in the U.S.
WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristin Hrafnsson said today that extraditing Julian Assange to the U.S. would be a stain on the U.K.'s reputation as the 'guardian' of press freedom.
The treaty signed by London and Washington prohibits the extradition of people for political reasons, recalled the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. Julian Assange's defense had until Tuesday to persuade the British Home Secretary not to hand over his client to the U.S. justice system.
Thousands of Assange's supporters also sent letters to the interior minister demanding his release. This forms part of an international campaign promoted by human rights and journalism organizations.