Julian Assange’s attorney called the US government’s effort to extradite the journalist “an outrageous and full-frontal assault on journalistic rights.” Human rights advocates say that Assange faces risks of serious human rights violations if he is sent to the US.
A US court has ordered a full extradition hearing for next year. The Wikileaks founder faces at least 18 charges in the US: a charge for hacking and 17 charges under the Espionage Act, each carrying a potential 10 year sentence for publishing documents and videos that exposed US war crimes.
The journalist will face a politicized show trial if he is extradited.
Assange, 47, told Westminster magistrates, “175 years of my life is effectively at stake” and “WikiLeaks is nothing but a publisher.”
It is not a crime in the United States to publish classified documents, but it will become one if Assange is extradited and convicted.
Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot ordered a full extradition hearing to begin on February 25, 2020.
Jennifer Robinson, an attorney for Assange, spoke outside the court after the hearing and warned the US government’s efforts would “place a chilling impact” on journalism “all over the world.”