December 7, 2010, New York – In response to the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
As a human rights organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights is alarmed by multiple examples of legal overreach and irregularities in the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, especially given concerns that they are meant to clear the way for Mr. Assange to be extradited to the U.S. via Sweden.Standard procedure in these cases is to call in a suspect for interrogation, and he has offered on numerous occasions to cooperate with the authorities. Similarly, a suspect who has surrendered, having never gone into hiding or attempted to flee, would normally be allowed to post bail. Yet Mr. Assange has been arrested and denied bail.Allegations like these should be taken seriously, and in this regard Assange has made every effort to cooperate in this matter. He should be afforded all due process, and steps should be taken to ensure that the investigation process is not manipulated for political reasons.We are concerned that the United States may seek to punish Mr. Assange for his journalistic efforts at uncovering and exposing the truth underlying key world events exactly as other news media, including The New York Times, have done. The documents published by WikiLeaks are providing important information about significant government wrongdoing and serious human rights violations that must be addressed, rather than focusing entirely on punishing the messenger.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.
December 7, 2010