Assange’s arrest sets precedent for journalists’ extradition to US — lawyer

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LONDON, April 11. /TASS/. The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the US extradition request sets a precedent meaning that any journalist can be extradited for persecution to the United States, Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer for Assange, said outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Thursday.

“This sets a dangerous precedent for all journalist and media organizations in Europe and around the world – this precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States,” she said.

In 2006, Assange set up WikiLeaks that published classified documents on certain governments, including the US. In 2012, Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, which had issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual harassment and rape charges. He was holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for nearly seven years.

On Thursday, Ecuador terminated the WikiLeaks founder’s political asylum. British police arrested Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy for breaching bail issued in 2012 and on a US extradition warrant issued in 2018. His lawyers fear he might face 35 years in prison or capital punishment for releasing classified State Department documents once he was deported to the United States. Nonetheless, the US Department of Justice says that he will face up to five years in prison for hacking.

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