Assange's Arrest As Chilling Consequences For Investigative Journalism, Says CPJ

WikiLeaks Assange hauled from embassy faces US charge

Julian Assange's arrest on Thursday in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London opens the next chapter in the saga of the WikiLeaks founder: An expected extradition fight over a pending criminal prosecution in the United States.

Assange's lawyer has previously said he planned to fight any US charges against him. This could mean the end for press freedom.

But prosecution in the United States might not be his only worry - or, ultimately, the most pressing.

He sought refuge in the Knightsbridge embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges. Assange had been living in the embassy for seven years to escape arrest and possible extradition to the U.S.

"For me this was never about anything else than his misconduct against me/women and his refusal to take responsibility for this", Anna Ardin, a writer and activist, said on Twitter.

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But that support has grown cold over the past few days as Assange was arrested in Great Britain after the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he was staying, expelled him.

As Assange settled in to his first night in British custody, his allies and enemies alike are gearing up for what promises to be a long, dogged legal slog, not only over his possible extradition to the USA but over how courts should view his actions. "The bottom line is that he has to answer for what he has done, at least as it has been charged", she said.

The debate rages on about whether or not Assange is a journalist, but it should be noted that several years ago when he was asked, Assange did claim to be a journalist.

Under Assange's leadership, WikiLeaks disseminated a huge trove of classified material related to the USA wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as hundreds of thousands of State Department cables. "They each had sex with me willingly and were happy to hang out with me afterwards". The warrant has since been dropped, but Assange is now in police custody in London for skipping bail. She told CNN yesterday that Assange had successfully "informed the American people about actions that were taking place that they should be aware of" and that his prosecution by US law enforcement is "some form of retaliation". Eight weeks later, he was granted asylum.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Assange would get no special treatment from his native country or consular offices. She argued that "journalism organizations should have their say". Assange later released his testimony to the media; it included a statement that suggested that Swedish prosecutors had subjected him to "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment". Prosecutors chose to discontinue the rape investigation against Assange in 2017, with Ny saying at a news conference in Stockholm that "all possibilities to advance the investigation have now been exhausted".

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