British government agrees to extradite Assange

After years of legal wrangling, British Home Secretary Priti Patel signed an extradition order for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be sent to the United States last week. Assange now has 14 days to lodge an appeal. Nothing less than freedom of the press is at stake here, commentators stress.

Open/close all quotes (DE) /

No value attached to press freedom

The decision to extradite Assange is wrong, explains:

“Of course in the case of Assange, there is always the question of whether a journalist who uncovered abuses is being muzzled. That is why [Home Secretary Priti] Patel should have prevented the extradition. She did not do so. Why, one can only speculate. Perhaps to avoid getting on the wrong side of the Americans. But what has been clear for some time now is that for this government, which constantly attacks the BBC and is not serious about the truth, freedom of the press has no value.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Assange has suffered enough

This is a black day for all those who care about journalism and democracy, The Guardian laments:

“This action potentially opens the door for journalists anywhere in the world to be extradited to the US for exposing information deemed classified by Washington. ... Mr Assange ... has suffered enough. Until 2019 Met police had waited seven years for him to emerge from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Since then he has spent three years in Belmarsh high-security prison without being convicted of any crime. Mr Assange should have been given bail to be with his wife and their two young children. To keep track of him, the authorities could have insisted that he be electronically tagged and monitored.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

Not the end of the legal dispute

The West has double standards when it comes to press freedom, Naftemporiki complains:

“Ah, freedom of the press: when authoritarian regimes close down media and imprison journalists, keyboards go up in flames. ... But when, as in the case of Wikileaks founder Assange, this freedom addresses our own misdeeds, neither protection nor asylum can stop it from being persecuted. ... If Assange is extradited to the US he will face 175 years in prison. Patel's decision does not mean the end of his legal battle, which has been going on for more than ten years. The Australian has the right to appeal the decision within 14 days.”