UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir on Sunday urged UK authorities not to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States, where he faces long prison sentences.
The main court hearings on the Assange extradition case will begin in London on February 24 and will last the whole next week. The second part of the substantive hearings is planned from May 18 to June 5.
“I urge the British authorities not to extradite Julian Assange, whose hearings will be held on Monday. I am extremely concerned about the numerous charges brought against him and the disproportionate period of imprisonment of up to 175 years, which could threaten him if extradited and convicted,” Desiree’s words are quoted in a statement on the OSCE website.
“It is important to consider the impact on freedom of expression and freedom of the media if he is extradited and convicted. This could have a negative impact on journalism and freedom of the press,” Desir added.
The statement emphasizes that Desir will closely monitor developments around the case.
Assange’s lawyers intend to present a series of facts next week related to the persecution of the Australian by the American authorities over the past 10 years.
Assange, accused of sexual harassment and rape in Sweden in 2010, has been hiding since June 2012 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for fear of extradition to a Scandinavian country. On the morning of April 11, 2019, he was detained at the request of the United States.
A court in London found him guilty of violating the conditions of bail and sentenced to 11 months in prison. Extradition hearings began on 2 May.
US officials said in late May that they had charged Assange with 17 episodes of violation of the law on espionage and the disclosure of classified information. Previously, he was accused of conspiracy to hack a computer on one count. In the case of extradition to the United States, Assange faces years of imprisonment.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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