Ratner: Assange is right to fear US prosecution

August 3, 2012

In an op-ed for The Guardian, Michael Ratner wrote yesterday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whom he represents, is right to fear prosecution in the United States once he has been indicted from the United Kingdom to Sweden in relation to a case of alleged sexual misconduct. “There are several unambiguous signs that the US is on track to prosecute Assange for his work as a journalist,” Ratner writes:

As the drama unfolds over Julian Assange’s bid for political asylum in Ecuador, a troubling irony has emerged: the besieged founder of WikiLeaks is seeking refuge in this small Andean nation because he fears persecution from the United States, a nation whose laws famously grant asylum to people in precisely Assange’s situation. Indeed, the US has demonstrated its commitment to be a safe haven for those being persecuted for their political beliefs by recognising that journalists punished for expressing political opinions in places like China meet the criteria for asylum under the US’s own laws.

The journalistic function and legacy of WikiLeaks cannot be disputed. The site has published 251,287 leaked US diplomatic cables and military documents that revealed the inner workings – warts and all – of US foreign policy. These publications illuminated state-sponsored human rights abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan, exposed a secret war in Yemen, and revealed the Obama administration’s interference with independent efforts to prosecute Bush officials for torture and other war crimes.

Read the whole piece here.