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EU parliamentarians call for protection of Julian Assange from possible extradition to the USA

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46 Members of the European Parliament today made a final appeal to the
UK Home Secretary to protect Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and
prevent his possible extradition to the United States.[1] The day before
the final court hearing on Julian Assange's extradition, the signatories
emphasise their concerns about the Assange case and its impact on press
freedom, as well as the serious risks to Assange's health if he is
extradited to the US.

According to the letter, the US government is attempting to use the
Espionage Act, which was passed in 1917, against a journalist and
publisher for the very first time. If the US succeeds and Assange is
extradited, this would redefine investigative journalism. It would
extend the application of US criminal laws internationally and apply it
to a non-US citizen without a corresponding extension of First Amendment
rights.

Patrick Breyer, Member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party
Germany and co-initiator of the letter, comments:

"Europe is watching the UK and its respect for human rights and the
Human Rights Convention closely. Britain's relationship with the EU is
at stake.

The imprisonment and prosecution of Assange sets an extremely dangerous
precedent for all journalists and press freedom. Any journalist could be
prosecuted in the future for publishing 'state secrets'. Representatives
of the US government have confirmed to me that the standards applied to
Assange would also be applied to any other journalist. We cannot accept
this to happen.

The public has a right to know about state crimes committed by those in
power so that they can stop them and bring the perpetrators to justice.
With Wikileaks, Julian Assange has started an era where injustice can no
longer be swept under the carpet - now it is up to us to defend
transparency, accountability and our right to the truth."

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