Earlier this week, the Knight Institute along with 23 other press freedom, civil liberties, and international human rights advocacy organizations sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting that criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange be dropped. The letter was sent after Yahoo News revealed that in 2017 the CIA and Trump administration had plotted to kidnap and possibly assassinate Assange. As the groups note, the news story heightens concerns about the motivations behind the prosecution and the dangerous precedent it sets, which “could be used against publishers and journalists alike, chilling their work and undermining freedom of the press.”
In February, members of the coalition sent a similar letter to the then-acting attorney general, urging the Department of Justice to drop the criminal and extradition proceedings related to Assange. Despite this earlier effort, the DOJ appealed a decision by a British court rejecting the Trump administration’s extradition request. That appeal is still pending.
Read this week’s letter here.
Lorraine Kenny is the Knight Institute’s communications director.