Assange's Indictment Treats Journalism as a Crime
Date Written: 2019-04-12
Year Published: 2019
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23624
The charges against Assange send a message to journalists that they are in danger for doing their jobs. The UK can and should deny extradition of Assange to the US.
Assange's arrest comes thanks to the Trump administration's decision to pursue WikiLeaks. The Obama administration refrained from indicting Assange for fear of establishing "a precedent that could chill investigative reporting about national security matters by treating it as a crime."
But the Trump administration decided to come after Assange. In 2017, then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo said, "WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service."
Assange's April 11 arrest was based on two grounds: failure to appear on a British warrant in 2012, and a warrant of extradition to face indictment in the United States. After his arrest, Assange was taken before a British judge and pleaded not guilty to failing to surrender to the court in 2012. District Judge Michael Snow convicted Assange, who now faces 12 months in prison in the U.K. for that offense.