In 2010, Wikileaks published secret US military documents. The USA wants to put Julian Assange on trial for this and is demanding his extradition. UN expert Alice Jill Edwards has concerns.
The UN rapporteur on torture has appealed to the British government to suspend the possible extradition of the founder of the Wikileaks disclosure platform, Julian Assange, to the USA. Assange’s arguments must be examined in detail based on significant concerns that he would be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment if extradited, Alice Jill Edwards said in Geneva. A hearing will take place at the High Court in London on February 20th and 21st.
The US is demanding extradition because it wants to bring Assange to justice. They accuse him of stealing and publishing secret material from military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with whistleblower Chelsea Manning. They are said to have put the lives of informants in danger. In the USA, Assange faces a sentence of up to 175 years in prison. Supporters see him as a courageous journalist who brought war crimes to light. Assange evaded authorities for several years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He has been in a British maximum security prison since April 2019.
Assange has long suffered from depression and is at risk of suicide, Edwards said. American assurances that he would be treated humanely were not enough. Among other things, they are not binding.
UN rapporteurs are independent experts who work for free. Edwards was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council.