Press Release

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression: Time to end prosecution of Julian Assange

March 1, 2024 — UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Irene Khan, issued a statement expressing concern that the possible extradition and imminent prosecution in the United States of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could have serious implications for freedom of expression.

“Gathering, reporting and disseminating information, including national security information when it is in the public interest, is a legitimate exercise of journalism and should not be treated as a crime.”

She noted that if extradited, Julian Assange would be the first publisher to be prosecuted in the US under the Espionage Act.

“It would set a dangerous precedent that could have a chilling effect on investigative journalism in the United States and possibly elsewhere in the world.”

The expert urged the UK authorities not to extradite Assange and the US Government to drop the charges.

“I call on the United States and the United Kingdom, which profess to uphold the right to freedom of expression, to uphold these international standards in the case of Julian Assange.”