In a statement Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said, it is deeply disappointed by the refusal of the UK Supreme Court to consider the appeal in the extradition case against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange. More than two years after extradition proceedings began, the case will now be sent back to the Home Office to take a political decision. RSF urged the Home Office to act in the interest of journalism and press freedom by refusing extradition and immediately releasing Assange from prison.
On 14 March, Assange’s defence lawyers issued a statement publicizing the fact that the Supreme Court has refused Assange permission to appeal on the basis that “the application does not raise an arguable point of law.” The case will now be sent back to the Home Secretary to decide whether to approve or reject extradition, nearly three years after the same office greenlighted the US government’s extradition request in the first place.
“Julian Assange’s case is overwhelmingly in the public interest, and it deserved review by the highest court in the UK. After two full years of extradition proceedings, once again Assange’s fate has become a political decision. We call on the Home Office to act in the interest of journalism and press freedom by refusing extradition and releasing Assange from prison without further delay,” said RSF’s Director of Operations and Campaigns, Rebecca Vincent.
This announcement followed the 24 January decision by the High Court allowing Assange to file an appeal with the Supreme Court, requesting review of a narrow point related to the lateness in the US government’s provision of diplomatic assurances regarding Assange’s treatment if extradited.
RSF is deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision, which represents a serious blow to Assange’s fight against extradition to the United States, where he faces the possibility of a prison sentence of up to 175 years in connection with Wikileaks’ publication of leaked classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010. The documents exposed war crimes and human rights violations which have never been prosecuted.