Home Secretary Signs Assange US Extradition Request
The UK home secretary Sajid Javid has approved an extradition request from the US for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be extradited.
The Tory leadership hopeful told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Thursday that the controversial figure is one step closer to a trial on US soil, where he faces an 18-count indictment.
“He’s rightly behind bars. There’s an extradition request from the US that is before the courts tomorrow but yesterday I signed the extradition order and certified it and that will be going in front of the courts tomorrow,” said Javid.
“It is a decision ultimately for the courts, but there is a very important part of it for the home secretary and I want to see justice done at all times and we’ve got a legitimate extradition request, so I’ve signed it, but the final decision is now with the courts.”
The Department of Justice initially indicted Assange on hacking offenses related to Chelsea Manning’s alleged unauthorized access of Pentagon computers to access classified information.
However, that was superseded by a new 18-count court order detailing charges related to Assange’s publishing of that classified info, which it is alleged harmed national security.
The trove of hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and other documents relating to US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq contained unredacted names of US informants and diplomats in those countries, allegedly putting their physical safety at risk.
However, press freedom advocates have warned that the charges could set a dangerous precedent, given that WikiLeaks was acting in the public interest in revealing US military cover-ups such as the accidental shooting of two Iraqis working for Reuters news agency in 2007.
It’s also claimed that as Assange is not a US citizen and his crimes were not committed on US soil, he should not be facing extradition.
Former editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, claimed the charges are “attempting to criminalize things journalists regularly do as they receive and publish true information given to them by sources or whistleblowers.”
However, Assange has also been a controversial figure: his decision to publish private emails hacked by alleged Russian state spies from Democratic Party officials is said to have given Donald Trump a key advantage in the 2016 race for the White House.
Source: Information Security Magazine