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PACE General Rapporteur expresses serious concern at reports that US officials discussed assassinating Julian Assange

Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD)
©Council of Europe

Following credible reports that CIA officials discussed assassinating Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), the Parliamentary Assembly’s General Rapporteur on the protection of whistleblowers, has expressed serious concern at the possibility of the extra-judicial assassination or abduction of whistleblowers.

“If these reports are true, I am horrified,” said Mr Omtzigt. “To kidnap or kill a civilian who published leaked documents would be a gross violation of basic Council of Europe human rights principles – and, one would hope, unthinkable in the world’s most powerful democracy. Reports that high-level US officials may have considered such an option are deeply worrying.”

Mr Omtzigt pointed to a 2020 resolution of the Assembly which called for Mr Assange’s extradition to the US to be barred, and urged his prompt release. “The Assembly has already made clear that the detention and criminal prosecution of Mr Assange sets a dangerous precedent for journalists. These reports only reinforce our concern that Mr Assange could be treated most unfairly.”

He added: “I am confident that the British courts will take these reports into consideration when ruling on Mr Assange’s extradition, and I call on the US authorities to clarify whether such appalling ‘options’ really were considered, and if so how to prevent this from happening again.”