Because ‘Publishing Is Not a Crime,’ Major Newspapers Push US to Drop Assange Charges, by Jake Johnson

The appeal is years too late, and the bitter reality is that late may be no better than never. However, the Assange team and its supporters around the world will take whatever they can get at this point. From Jake Johnson at commondreams.org:

“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and the freedom of the press,” The Guardian, The New York Times, and other media outlets warned.

The five major media outlets that collaborated with WikiLeaks in 2010 to publish explosive stories based on confidential diplomatic cables from the U.S. State Department sent a letter Monday calling on the Biden administration to drop all charges against Julian Assange, who has been languishing in a high-security London prison for more than three years in connection with his publication of classified documents.

“Twelve years after the publication of ‘Cablegate,’ it is time for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets,” reads the letter signed by the editors and publishers of The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El País. “Publishing is not a crime.”

The letter comes as Assange, the founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, is fighting the U.S. government’s attempt to extradite him to face charges of violating the draconian Espionage Act of 1917. If found guilty on all counts, Assange would face a prison sentence of up to 175 years for publishing classified information—a common journalistic practice.

Press freedom organizations have vocally warned that Assange’s prosecution would pose a threat to journalists the world over, a message that the five newspapers echoed in their letter Monday.

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