The Council of Europe has asked British Home Secretary Priti Patel not to extradite Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States.
Patel is about to decide whether, as the court previously ruled, she will extradite Assange or if she finds objections raised by his lawyers sufficient grounds to waive the extradition. If Patel decides to extradite, it can be appealed again within fourteen days.
The Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic stressed in a letter to Patel that the extradition would send a dangerous signal to people “who want to expose abuses through confidential data in the public interest”. It could also be a blow “to freedom of expression and to human rights worldwide”.
The Council of Europe was established in 1949 to promote peace, the rule of law, democracy and human rights in all countries of Europe. The council is entirely separate from the EU and has almost 50 members, including the countries of the Caucasus, but Russia has recently been removed from the membership.
As an activist and publicist, Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006 and four years later published confidential data from the United States armed forces, mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan. An American military analyst leaked them. As a result, justice in the US has formulated at least 17 charges related to espionage against him, which can carry a total of more than 170 years in prison.