Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange protest outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain, January 24, 2022. The court gave him permission to appeal extradition to the United States. (Reuters/Peter Nicholls) - RC2K5S9TSGRD

CPJ cautiously welcomes UK court decision on Assange, says US must now drop charges

New York, January 24, 2022 – The Committee to Protect Journalists cautiously welcomed a British court’s decision on Monday allowing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to apply to appeal against a lower court’s ruling that he could be extradited to face criminal charges in the United States.

“We are glad that Julian Assange will be allowed to apply to appeal his extradition in the UK’s Supreme Court,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. “The prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder in the United States would set a deeply harmful legal precedent that would allow the prosecution of reporters for news gathering activities and must be stopped. We strongly encourage the U.S. Justice Department to halt extradition proceedings and drop all charges against Assange.” 

If extradited and convicted in the U.S., Assange faces up to 175 years in prison on 18 charges under both the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.