LONDON—The British High Court of Justice today ruled that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will be able to appeal a decision to extradite him to the U.S. to face charges under the Espionage Act. 

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

“This ruling is an important victory for Assange, but this case will continue to cast a shadow over press freedom so long as the U.S. government seeks Assange’s extradition. The indictment focuses almost entirely on the kinds of activities that national security journalists engage in routinely and as a necessary part of their work, and so a successful prosecution would criminalize a great deal of the investigative journalism that is crucial to our democracy. The Justice Department should never have charged Assange under the Espionage Act, and it should drop the charges now.”

The Knight Institute, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and other press freedom, civil liberties, and international human rights organizations sent a letter last week to Attorney General Merrick Garland about the Assange extradition proceedings, arguing that the U.S. assurances do not adequately address press freedom concerns, and urging the Department of Justice to drop the charges against Assange. Read the letter here. 

In 2020, Jaffer submitted expert testimony to the U.K. court about the press freedom implications of the Assange indictment. Read the testimony here.

For more information, contact: Adriana Lamirande, [email protected]