The prosecution of the WikiLeaks co-founder might damage future whistleblowers, the UN’s high human rights official says

The extradition of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to the US might have a “chilling impact” on investigative journalism, UN Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has stated.

Assange’s authorized group filed an enchantment on Friday to cease his extradition from Britain to the US, the place he faces as much as 175 years in jail if discovered responsible on espionage expenses.

A London court docket dominated in April that Assange, who stays in Belmarsh Jail, may be handed over to the US.

“The potential extradition and prosecution of Mr. Assange raises considerations regarding media freedom and a attainable chilling impact on investigative journalism and on the actions of whistleblowers,” Bachelet stated in a press release on Sunday after assembly with Assange’s spouse and attorneys.

“In these circumstances, I wish to emphasize the significance of making certain respect [for] Mr. Assange’s human rights, specifically the best to a good trial and due course of ensures on this case,” she added.

“My workplace will proceed to intently comply with Assange’s case.”

Assange’s authorized group argues that he’s being “prosecuted and punished for his political beliefs.” Lawyer Jennifer Robinson stated the case might be taken to the European Courtroom of Human Rights, if essential. “There may be nonetheless a protracted option to go by way of our appeals,” Robinson informed Australia’s Channel 10 on Sunday.

All through its historical past, WikiLeaks launched quite a few categorised authorities data, together with footage of alleged warfare crimes dedicated by US troops in Iraq.

British authorities arrested Assange in 2019 after he had spent practically seven years hiding contained in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

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