Biden Administration Files Appeal to Have Assange Extradited to US

After vowing to appeal, the Biden Administration has followed through on that promise and appealed the decision to extradite Julian Assange.

It is seen by many as a major letdown. Earlier this month, 22 human rights organization penned an open letter to the Biden administration. In that letter, they call on the administration to drop the Assange case. This on the grounds that journalism is not a crime and continued pursuit would set a terrible precedent for journalism as a whole.

The Biden administration responded by rejecting those calls. A spokesperson said that the administration intends on appealing the Assange case.

We checked in on the case and it appears that the administration has followed through and appealed the case. From CTV:

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has appealed a British judge’s ruling against the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a Justice Department official said Friday.

The appeal made clear Biden’s intention to have Assange stand trial on espionage and hacking-related charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of US military and diplomatic documents beginning in 2009.

The Justice Department had until Friday to file an appeal of Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s January 4 ruling that Assange suffered mental health problems that would raise the risk of suicide if he were sent to the United States for trial.

“Yes, we filed an appeal and we are continuing to pursue extradition,” Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi told AFP.

The article goes on to say that Assistant Attorney General John Demers denies that Assange is a journalist – a common refrain pushed by anti-Assange publications. While that might have worked among those less informed, it didn’t phase various human and digital rights organizations. When they penned that open letter, they knew that common journalism practices could be criminalized if the administration ultimately wins this case.

Unfortunately, when the UK judge blocked Assange’s extradition to the US, the judge didn’t do so on the grounds that journalism is not a crime. Instead, Assange’s mental health and the terrible conditions of the US penal system were cited as reasons not to have Assange extradited. That alone was a bitter disappointment for journalism and Assange advocates alike. This is because it left the door open to the possibility that journalism could still be considered a crime.

Since the appeal, we aren’t seeing much in the way of developments in the case. So, we’ll continue to check in on the case to look for any developments.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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