Press Release

31 MEPs write an open letter to UK Home Secretary

May 17, 2024 — Ahead of the upcoming High Court hearing on May 20th, 31 members of the EU Parliament from several political groups, have sent an open letter to UK Home Secretary James Cleverly, urging him to stop the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States.

The letter calls on the British government to assume its responsibilities with regard to human rights and press freedom. The letter was initiated by MEP Patrick Breyer, who said:

“The British government is spreading the myth that it is exclusively for the courts to decide on Assange’s extradition. Section 70 (2) of the UK Extradition Act however gives the Home Secretary the power to refuse extradition if it would violate the right to life or the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, as stipulated in the European Convention on Human Rights. Julian Assange’s mental health, the potential conditions of detention in the US and the real risk of suicide upon extradition mean that extradition would constitute such inhumane or degrading treatment.”

Patrick Breyer, MEP

In their letter, the MEPs emphasize that the persecution of Julian Assange is politically motivated. The provisions of the British-American extradition treaty rightly prohibit extradition for political crimes. The clearly political nature of this case is made clear by numerous and highly biased statements from leading US political figures who have called for the extrajudicial punishment or assassination of Mr. Assange since at least 2011.

MEPs also stress the total lack of any guarantee on behalf of the US government that Assange would receive the same rights in court as a US citizen.

“Proceedings against a publisher in a country that may not recognize or apply fundamental rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press is unacceptable.”

Patrick Breyer, MEP