The United Kingdom Parliament raked up the extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who is facing espionage charges by the United States. The Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, on the floor of the House, asked UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson if the rights of journalists and whistleblowers will be protected in the country. Corbyn backed MPs on the Council of Europe, who warned that Assange's extradition "sets a dangerous precedent for journalists."
Calling to oppose the extradition to the United States, Corbyn, he said, "The deep disparity with the US is about to be laid bare, when the Court decides, whether the WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange will be extradited on charges of espionage for exposing war crimes, the murder of civilians, and large scale corruption. Will the Prime Minister agree with the Parliamentary report that's going to the Council of Europe, that this extradition should be opposed and the rights of journalists and whistleblowers are held for the good of all of us."
In response to Corbyn, Boris Johnson refused to comment on an 'individual case' of Julian Assange, however, asserted that the rights of 'whistleblowers and journalists should be upheld.' He said, "I am not going to comment on any individual case, but it is obvious that the rights of journalists and whistleblowers should be upheld in this country and this government will clearly continue to do that."
Jeremy Corbyn speaks out against the extradition of Julian Assange in UK parliament today.— Assange Edits 🎬 (@AssangeEdits) February 12, 2020
The 48-year-old whistleblower currently imprisoned in Belmarsh is slapped with 18 charges in the United States including the Espionage Act, for conspiring to gain access into US military secrets between January and May 2010. If convicted, he will face upto 175 years in the US prison. Julian Assange was holed up in London's Ecudorian embassy for seven years, until he was dragged out by the UK Police. He took refuge in a small office converted into a bedroom. The 47-year-old lived there with his cat.
Wikileaks, an anti-secrecy organisation, was founded in 2006 as a platform for whistleblowers to release classified information anonymously. By 2015, Wikileaks became a portal to publish over 10 million documents, including top-secret documents. Ever since its launch in 2006, Wikileaks has published thousands of classified documents, disclosing the details from national security, war, politics to the film industry. In 2010, as per published files of WikiLeaks, Congress' Rahul Gandhi told the then US Ambassador at lunch that Hindu extremists groups post a greater threat to his country than the Muslim terrorists.