AEJ welcomes end of solitary-confinement for Wiki-Leaks-publisher Julian Assange in British high-security prison of Belmarsh.
On February 24th the extradition-hearing will start at a London court. Together with other international media organisations AEJ rejects demands of US-justice-department to put Assange on trial in US where he is charged with 17 counts of spying and one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. “Media Freedom and investigative journalism together with whistleblowers are threatened worldwide if Assange should be extradited and sentenced”, says AEJ-President Otmar Lahodynsky. “Any journalist who reports on illegal methods or treatments used by state-authorities would risk a prison-term in the future.” A fair trial for Assange in the US is not secured. Furthermore, lawyers of US-government made it clear that provisions of the first amendment of the US-constitution regarding media protection do not apply to foreign citizens. But US-officials claim at the same time that US-laws apply also in foreign countries. Assange is an Australian journalist.
Lahodynsky states that after Brexit there is a big danger that the UK-government might be tempted to extradite Assange to the US as the British governments hopes for a new trade-deal with the US. “Assange should not stay in a British high-security prison as his jail-term for a breach of bail-conditions ended last autumn already.” Furthermore, it was revealed that Assange has been surveilled illegally during his stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London by a Spanish security-company operating for the CIA.
Assange is in a bad health-condition according to exams by different doctors. “We urge UK-authorities to secure the well-being of Mr. Assange”, says the AEJ-President who spoke in Vienna at a rallye in favour of a release of Julian Assange. AEJ shares an appeal of the “Europan Federation of Journalists”(EFJ/IFJ):
The arbitrary detention of Julian Assange set a dangerous precedent for journalists