UK Court Ruling Against Assange's Extradition Victory for All Journalists, Lawyer Says
21:58 GMT 04.01.2021
MONTEVIDEO (Sputnik) - The decision of a UK court to block WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition to the United States is a victory for all journalists, the whistleblower's Ecuadorean lawyer, Carlos Poveda, told Sputnik on Monday.
"This decision is not only a personal triumph for Assange but also for all journalists. It is a global achievement that we all must rally behind," he said, adding that some journalists were complicit in his persecution by choosing to stay silent.
Poveda added he had mixed feelings about the ruling because the UK district court judge was only concerned with Assange's frail mental condition, while ignoring the violation of his basic rights to freedom of expression and access to information.
UK district judge Vanessa Baraitser said that Assange would be a suicide risk if he was handed over to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years in jail for publishing classified information on the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as thousands of diplomatic cables.
Earlier in the day, the President of Mexico, Lopez Obrador, said his country would take some measures to grant political asylum to Assange if the UK would release him from custody.
Since last month, Julian Assange's name has repeatedly been mentioned by many political figures and other public persons as one that should be on the list of Trump's presidential pardons. Another known whistleblower, Edward Snowden, an ex-US National Security Agency staffer who leaked information about the agency's global surveillance programs who is currently living in Russia while being charged in the US, has been among those urging Trump to pardon Assange, while reportedly influence groups in the US have also been advocating for Snowden himself to receive a presidential pardon as well.
WikiLeaks, launched by Assange with a group of activists in 2006, published revelations, the most incriminating of which included the files on the US war in Afghanistan, showing alleged atrocities committed by US troops, personal emails of the worlds' highest-ranking politicians, and data for internal use of intelligence agencies. The leaks also included the emails of 2016 Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, which are believed to have seriously harmed her political image and have been cited as one of the reasons for her election loss.
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