UK court approves Assange extradition appeal

Supporters of Julian Assange celebrate the verdict, outside of the Royal Court of Justice, on the day of an extradition hearing of the WikiLeaks founder, in London, Britain, May 20.
Supporters of Julian Assange celebrate outside the Royal Court of Justice in London, Britain, on May 20, after the Wikileaks founder was allowed to appeal his extradition to the U.S. (Photo: Reuters/Hollie Adams)

The U.K. High Court on Monday decided to allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to appeal an order by the United States to extradite him on espionage charges, a decision welcomed by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“We are heartened that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be allowed to appeal his extradition to the United States,” said CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg, in New York. “Assange’s prosecution in the United States would have disastrous implications for press freedom. It is time for the United States Department of Justice to drop its harmful charges against Assange.”

If extradited and convicted in the U.S., Assange’s lawyers have said that he faces up to 175 years in prison under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, although U.S. prosecutors have said the sentence would be much shorter.

Last week, CPJ and partners sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging the Justice Department to drop charges against the Wikileaks founder.

2nd journalist in 2 weeks killed in Pakistan
Police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, in April 2024.
Police officers stand guard at the site of a suicide attack in Karachi, Pakistan, in April 2024. Two masked motorcyclists shot and killed report Ashfaq Ahmed Sial in Muzaffargarh, Pakistan, on May 15, 2024. (Photo: AP/Fareed Khan)

Two masked motorcyclists shot and killed Ashfaq Ahmed Sial, a reporter for the Daily Khabrain newspaper, while he was on his way to work in central Punjab province on May 15, before fleeing the scene, according to local nonprofit Freedom Network and news reports.

The motive behind the killing was unclear, and the Committee to Protect Journalists called for an immediate investigation into the killing. On May 3, a journalist for the local newspaper The Daily Baakhbar Quetta, died after a motorcyclist placed a bomb on the journalist’s vehicle at a busy crossing in Khuzdar city.

Pakistan continues to be a perilous environment for journalists, with increasing risk for those who critically report on powerful entities and criminal activity.


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Journalists Attacked

Myat Thu Tan

MURDERED

Myat Thu Tan, a contributor to the local news website Western News and correspondent for several independent Myanmar news outlets, was shot and killed on January 31, 2024, while in military custody in Mrauk-U in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.

He was arrested on September 22, 2022, and held in pre-trial detention under a broad provision of the penal code that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news for critical posts he made on his Facebook page. Myat Thu Tan had not been tried or convicted at the time of his death.

The journalist’s body was found buried in a bomb shelter, with the bodies of six other political detainees, and showed signs of torture.

Myanmar’s military junta has cracked down on journalists and media outlets since seizing power in a February 2021 coup.

In at least 8 out of 10 cases, the murderers of journalists go free. CPJ is waging a global campaign against impunity.

The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide.

We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

journalists killed in 2024 (motive confirmed)
imprisoned in 2023
missing globally