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Human rights expert urges Home Secretary not to extradite Julian Assange

An image of Julian Assange projected onto a building near St Paul’s cathedral in central London earlier this year (Victoria Jones/PA)
An image of Julian Assange projected onto a building near St Paul’s cathedral in central London earlier this year (Victoria Jones/PA)

A human rights expert is urging the Government not to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, warning it would have a “chilling effect” on media freedom.

Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel, who is now considering whether the extradition can go ahead.

The commissioner said the wider human rights implications of extradition had not been adequately considered, adding that the indictment by the US raised important questions about the protection of those that publish classified information in the public interest.

“Allowing Mr Assange’s extradition on this basis would have a chilling effect on media freedom and could ultimately hamper the press in performing its task as purveyor of information and public watchdog in democratic societies,” she wrote.

“As I have previously stated, it is my position that, taking into account both these wider implications and the concerns raised by independent experts about Mr Assange’s treatment upon extradition, the Government of the United Kingdom should not allow his extradition to the United States.

“I therefore call upon you to decide against the extradition of Mr Assange.”

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