Reputable world newspapers demand that America stop prosecuting Assange

Protest for the release of Julian Assange/ Photo EPA-EFE/Mourad Balti Touati

The respected newspapers "New York Times", "Guardian", "El Pais", "Le Monde" and "Der Spiegel" today, on the 12th anniversary of the publication of the documents revealed by the network "Wikileaks", called on the US administration to stop criminal to prosecute the founder of this group, Julian Assange, for divulging US state secrets.

A lawsuit has been filed against the 51-year-old Australian in the United States due to the publication of more than 700.000 confidential documents about American military and diplomatic activities, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, which these five newspapers have written about since 2010. If convicted, Assange faces life in prison.

Swedish authorities filed an arrest warrant for Assange in 2010 on rape and sexual assault charges. He was later arrested in the UK, where he was at the time, and was awaiting a ruling on an extradition request to Sweden. Two years later he sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he remained for the next seven years. In 2019, Sweden dropped the charges against him. In 2019, Ecuador asked Assange to leave the embassy, ​​after which he was arrested by British police and is currently in a high-security prison near London, pending a court response to an appeal against the British government's decision to extradite him. in the USA.

"Gathering and publishing sensitive information when it is of public interest is a major part of daily journalistic work," write the chief editors and directors of the five newspapers.

"If this matter is criminalized, it will greatly weaken not only the quality of public discussion, but also our democracy," they warn.

The newspapers assess that "twelve years after the first publications" it is "time for the American government to abandon the criminal prosecution of Julian Assange", because "publishing is not a crime".

The authors point out that the 1917 anti-espionage law invoked by the Court when Donald Trump was president, "it was never applied to journalists, media and publishers".

"Such an accusation is a dangerous precedent" and "threatens the freedom of information", says the text published in reputable world newspapers.

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