The British High Court ruled last week that Julian Assange may be extradited to the U.S., where he will face 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of hacking into a government computer.
Assange, 50, is being tried for publishing classified military and diplomatic documents back in 2010. These criminal charges could see Assange sentenced to 175 years in prison, despite the fact that he’s not a U.S. citizen and WikiLeaks is not a US-based publication. A British judge ruled in January that the U.S. would be prohibited from finalizing Assange’s sentence as it could cause him to suffer mental health damage. Assange, who is currently being held on remand in Belmarsh prison, had a stroke last week and his overall health is reportedly depleting.
The Assange trial has been prominently covered across the spectrum. Left-rated outlets were split on the issue, with some voices saying “the judicial railroading of Assange” has turned “lying into a universal principle.” Many others on the left said Assange’s “prosecution poses a serious threat to democracy,” adding that a guilty verdict “will effectively criminalize the investigative work of all journalists and publishers.” Additionally, some left-rated outlets linked Assange’s extradition to former President Donald Trump and how much he “knew about Russian election interference.” Many right-rated outlets criticized the current state of press freedom, emphasizing that everyone should have the right “to practice journalism in ways that offend people in power, or it will get turned into glorified public relations work for those who hold power.”