Assange case raises media freedom concerns: UN rights chief

GENEVA: UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet stated Saturday that the likely extradition and prosecution of Julian Assange raised issues for media freedom and could have a “chilling impact” on investigative journalism.
Assange, who has been held in a significant-security London jail due to the fact 2019, has submitted an charm against his extradition from Britain to the United States.
The Australian is required to face trial for allegedly violating the US Espionage Act by publishing labeled US navy and diplomatic information in 2010, similar to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The 51-yr-old could confront a long time in jail if found responsible, but supporters portray him as a martyr to push flexibility after he was taken into British custody following just about seven a long time within Ecuador’s embassy in London.
“I am knowledgeable of health difficulties which Assange has endured all through his time in detention, and remain anxious for his physical and psychological effectively-getting,” Bachelet explained in a assertion following conference with the WikiLeaks founder’s spouse and lawyers on Thursday.
“The probable extradition and prosecution of Assange raises worries relating to media liberty and a doable chilling impact on investigative journalism and on the pursuits of whistle-blowers.
“In these conditions, I would like to emphasise the importance of guaranteeing regard of Assange’s human rights, in individual the proper to a truthful trial and owing procedure guarantees in this circumstance.
“My workplace will continue on to intently comply with Mr. Assange’s circumstance.”
Bachelet’s expression as the United Nations large commissioner for human rights finishes on Wednesday, after four decades in the post.
The former Chilean president’s successor has not still been appointed.
The US-dependent Assange Defense Committee coalition preventing to free of charge the former computer system hacker said the lawful battle about his extradition was heating up on several fronts.
“Assange’s lawyers pressured the lawful and human legal rights implications of the scenario, when Stella Assange up-to-date Bachelet on the effects several years of confinement have had on Julian’s overall health and family members,” the statement mentioned.
The Assange circumstance has grow to be a trigger celebre for media flexibility and his supporters accuse Washington of seeking to muzzle reporting of respectable protection considerations.

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