LONDON—The British High Court of Justice today ruled that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will be able to appeal an earlier court decision to extradite him to the United States to face charges under the 1917 Espionage Act. Assange’s case is the first in which the U.S. government has relied on the Espionage Act as the basis for the prosecution of a publisher.

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

‘The UK High Court’s ruling presents the U.S. government with another opportunity to do what it should have done long ago—drop the Espionage Act charges. Prosecuting Assange for the publication of classified information would have profound implications for press freedom, because publishing classified information is what journalists and news organizations often need to do in order to expose wrongdoing by government. It’s long past time for the U.S. Justice Department to abandon the Espionage Act charges and resolve this case.”

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]