The General Rapporteurs on Human Rights Defenders and Whistleblowers, and on Political Prisoners, of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD) and Sunna Ævarsdóttir (Iceland, SOC), have warned against the extradition to the United States of Julian Assange.
“The harsh treatment of Julian Assange to date, and the lengthy prison term which he faces in the US if extradited, have a chilling effect on freedom of information, freedom of speech and whistleblowing in general. Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the ‘Pentagon Papers’, is rightly celebrated as a hero for his contribution to bringing the Vietnam war to an end. Julian Assange, who published accurate information on egregious human rights violations by state agents in Iraq and elsewhere, also deserves recognition, not punishment,” said Mr Zingeris.
“Julian Assange has made powerful enemies in the United States. If extradited, he would risk serious human rights violations, including ill-treatment in detention, and a disproportionate prison sentence. It is therefore with great concern that we learned of the decision issued on 6 June by the High Court in London, denying Julian Assange permission to appeal the decisions authorising his extradition,” said Ms Ævarsdóttir.
“We also call on the international community to take any action likely to put an end to Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings in order to prevent human rights violations, which appear more imminent now than ever before,” the rapporteurs said. Both rapporteurs note that the Assembly has already supported the release of Julian Assange and recall statements by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights calling on the UK to end the arbitrary detention of Julian Assange and to prevent his extradition.