Amnesty International has released a statement urging the UK government to not extradite Julian Assange to the United States “or anywhere he could face the death penalty, torture or other ill-treatment.”
Assange was arrested on 11 April by London’s Metropolitan Police who claimed to be making the arrest on behalf of the US authorities. The US has charged Assange with helping whistleblower Chelsea Manning hack a government computer in 2010 and steal classified information.
Wikileaks cables showed evidence of US war crimes.
For example, in 2010 the Iraq war logs were released which showed that of a recorded death of 109,000, 66,081 were non-combatants.
Footage was also released showing a US military helicopter attack in Iraq that killed civilians, including two staff members of news agency Reuters.
Wikileaks has also released US embassy cables showing awareness of crimes against humanity conducted by the Rajapaksa administration. This includes a 2007 cable where Prasad Samarasinghe, a Major General in Sri Lanka's army and former military spokesperson to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London informed the US about the Sri Lankan government’s use of abduction as "political retribution against those thought to be disloyal to the Rajapaksa administration", and the prosecution of scapegoats to "appease the international community”.
Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault charges. Those charges have since been dropped but Swedish authorities are re-examining the case.
Ecuador’s former President, Rafael Correa, ensured Assange had asylum at the embassy but this has been overturned by the new president, Lenín Moreno. Correa criticised Moreno decision stating:
“The greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history, Lenin Moreno, allowed the British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange. Moreno is a corrupt man, but what he has done is a crime that humanity will never forget.”
Moreno defended his position stating that he had written undertakings from Britain that Assange’s fundamental rights would be respected.
A letter signed by the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and his predecessor Boris Johnson, dated 7 March 2018 and 10 August 2018 respectively gave assurances that Assange's rights would be protected.
The letter reaffirms that “a person cannot be extradited if they could face the death penalty, according to British legislation”.