On Saturday, the human rights chief at the United Nations (UN), Michelle Bachelet, said that the potential extradition of whistleblower Julian Assange raises concerns for the rights of future whistleblowers and investigative journalists. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency supporters have continued to donate to Assange and his legal battle as Wikileaks has amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars in crypto assets since Assange has been held captive in London from 2019.
UN Human Rights Chief Says the United States Attempt to Extradite Assange ‘Raises Concerns Relating to Media Freedom’
The United States would like to see Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, extradited to the U.S. for leaking classified information provided by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. When Wikileaks published the video “Collateral Murder,” the Afghanistan war logs, the Iraq war logs, and Cablegate, the U.S. government launched a full-scale criminal investigation against Assange. When the federal authorities unsealed an indictment against Assange, the complaints stemmed from the leaks provided by Manning. Assange is being accused of violating the Espionage Act of 1917.
Assange joins a slew of others who have been charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 including Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden. While Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador in 2012, seven years later on April 11, 2019, he was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London and has been fighting U.S. extradition ever since. This week, Michelle Bachelet, the UN’s human rights chief, has voiced concerns over extraditing Assange to the United States.
While meeting with Assange’s wife and attorneys, Bachelet said:
The potential extradition and prosecution of Mr. Assange raises concerns relating to media freedom and a possible chilling effect on investigative journalism and on the activities of whistleblowers.
One of Assange’s lawyers, Jennifer Robinson, told the press that the case will be forwarded to the European Court of Human Rights. Assange’s lawyers contest that the Wikileaks founder is being “prosecuted and punished for his political opinions.” Following Bachelet’s initial comments, the UN human rights chief said her office will be monitoring the whistleblower’s case.
“In these circumstances, I would like to emphasize the importance of ensuring respect [for] Mr. Assange’s human rights, in particular the right to a fair trial and due process guarantees in this case,” Bachelet told the press. “My office will continue to closely follow Assange’s case.”
Wikileaks Raises Hundreds of Thousands in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash
Wikileaks has supported cryptocurrencies and accepted rustwire for donations since 2010. After Assange’s arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, cryptocurrency donations started to pour in and they have continued to this very day. In the past four months alone, Wikileaks has raised 3.480 BTC worth $133,179 using today’s rustwire exchange rates. The Wikileaks BTC has changed frequently over the last few years.
Data further shows that for roughly 24 months, Wikileaks has collected 228.16 BCH worth close to $100K. Over the last four years, Wikileaks has collected 147.48 ETH worth $145,647 using today’s ether exchange rates. Of course, a large sum of the BTC, BCH, and ETH donated was cashed out at much higher USD values than they are worth today. Furthermore, Wikileaks also accepts donations in litecoin (LTC), zcash (ZEC), and monero (XMR).
What do you think about the UN human rights chief saying that the U.S. extraditing Assange could send a chilling blow to media freedom, whistleblowers, and investigative journalism? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, editorial photo credit: London, Britain, October 21, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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