Julian Assange Extradition Hearings

Julian Assange is currently being held at Belmarsh, a high security prison in the UK, on the basis of a US extradition request on charges that stem directly from the publication of disclosed documents as part of his work with Wikileaks. Hearings on the case were held last week. Amnesty’s Julia Hall was there as an observer.

In this context, publication of disclosed documents mirrors the work of investigative journalists. Punishing this kind of activity can have a chilling effect on the right to freedom of expression, leading journalists to self-censor from fear of prosecution.

Amnesty International strongly opposes any possibility of Julian Assange being extradited or sent in any other manner to the USA. Such a transfer brings with it the risk of serious human rights violations including possible detention conditions that would amount to torture and other ill-treatment (such as prolonged solitary confinement. Additionally, the fact that he was the target of a negative public campaign by US officials at the highest levels undermines his right to be presumed innocent and puts him at risk of an unfair trial.

International human rights law and standards forbid the transfer of an individual to another country where there is a real risk they would face serious human rights violations.

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