April 11, 2019, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement concerning the arrest in London of journalist and WikiLeaks media publisher Julian Assange for purposes of extradition to the United States:
Mr. Assange’s arrest and possible extradition to face charges related to an alleged conspiracy with Chelsea Manning to publish documents that exposed corruption and criminality by numerous private businesses, tyrants, and countries worldwide is ultimately an attack on press freedom.
The arrest sets a dangerous precedent that could extend to other media organizations such as The New York Times, particularly under a vindictive and reckless administration that regularly attacks journalistic enterprises that, just like WikiLeaks, publish leaked materials that expose government corruption and wrongdoing. This is a worrying step on the slippery slope to punishing any journalist the Trump administration chooses to deride as “fake news.”
It comes in the backdrop of even further cruelty toward and imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, who continues to defend the integrity of her heroic decision to act as a whistleblower and expose U.S. government atrocities it committed in Iraq.
The United States should finally seek to come to terms with the war crimes in Iraq that it has committed rather than attack and imprison those who sought to expose the truth of it.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, with its former President Emeritus, the late Michael Ratner, has represented Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks in connection with possible extradition and criminal prosecution for alleged Espionage Act violations arising from the publication of U.S. diplomatic cables.
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.