A court decision on Monday blocked Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States.
US authorities want him flown over to stand trial over the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents and diplomatic communications in 2010 and 2011.
The documents had revealed some of the crimes of Western imperialism. District judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled on Monday that he couldn’t be extradited because Assange would face a serious risk of suicide and self harm.
She rejected arguments from Assange’s legal team, and accepted that his activities were beyond the scope of journalism. But Baraitser then ruled his mental health condition meant “it would be oppressive to extradite him”.
It’s right that Assange isn’t extradited—but the ruling sets a dangerous precedent for anyone wanting to challenge governments’ crimes.
Baraitser made it clear that, were it not for his health considerations, Assange would be shipped to the US to face trial—and a possible 175-year sentence
It’s likely he would face a similar fate to US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who has faced years of imprisonment and harassment by the US military and legal system.
The hounding of Assange over the exposure of US war crimes has to end. He should be freed now, and the US’s charges against him dropped.