This is the first time a publisher has been charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing government secrets.

By Marjorie Cohn, TruthOut

For nearly five years, publisher and journalist Julian Assange has fought extradition to the United States where he faces 175 years in prison for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes.

Julian Assange and our test for freedom

Instead of protecting freedom of the press, to which he pledged allegiance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in April, Joe Biden is continuing Donald Trump’s prosecution of Assange under the infamous Espionage Act. Journalist James Ball is one of at least four journalists that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI are pressuring to cooperate with the prosecution of Assange, Ball wrote in Rolling Stone.

Biden’s DOJ is apparently attempting to bolster its prosecution of Assange in the event he is extradited to the United States. Ball said that all three of the other journalists being pressured to provide a statement told him they have no intention of helping the prosecution.

Assange, who is in frail physical and mental health after years of confinement, is contesting the U.K. High Court’s rejection of his appeal. If he loses in the U.K., Assange’s last resort is to the European Court of Human Rights to litigate several violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

But even if the European court issues an injunction against extradition, the U.K. courts may not honor that ruling. Assange is “dangerously close” to extradition, according to his family and observers.

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