Index reiterates our urgent call for Assange to be freed
The final stage of Assange's UK appeal begins today. The international community must unite in their support to free him
20 Feb 24

Julian Assange in 2014, photo: David G Silvers/CC BY-SA 2.0

Julian Assange; illustration: Hafteh7

Today, as a panel of High Court judges convene the last stage of UK proceedings in the US government’s extradition case against Assange, we reiterate our urgent calls to free Julian Assange. This week’s hearing marks the beginning of the end of his extradition case, as there can be no further appeal in the UK.

Not only will extradition put Assange at risk, given his mental health, but it will inevitably have a serious chilling effect on media freedom around the world. We fear that he will not face a fair trial in the United States given the hostile publicity around the case.

Wikileaks published a series of leaked diplomatic cables in 2010 and 2011, which caused serious embarrassment to the United States government. These included the US army manual on the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and a video showing a helicopter attack on innocent civilians in Iraq. Assange acted as a journalist and publisher in bringing these disclosures to public attention. He did so in collaboration with a number of mainstream, respected media organisations including the Guardian and the New York Times.

We call on the international community to support Assange in this, the final stage of his battle against extradition. If the US government succeeds in bringing espionage charges against Assange it will have the potential effect of turning all journalists reporting on alleged US security abuses into spies.