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3 Jul, 2019 15:30

Journalists like Assange should ‘not pay such a price for exposing war crimes and torture’ – Maurizi

Journalists like Assange should ‘not pay such a price for exposing war crimes and torture’ – Maurizi

Journalist Stefania Maurizi says her ongoing legal battle to uncover Julian Assange’s extradition files is about more than the WikiLeaks founder, telling RT’s Going Underground that it impacts all journalists, everywhere.

Through various freedom of information requests, filed with the US, UK, Swedish, and Ecuadorian authorities, Maurizi has revealed the dangerous precedent being set for journalists operating in the UK regardless of their origin. 

“This case is not just about Julian Assange – it is about any journalist trying to expose war crimes, secret documents that provide evidence of torture, and so on,” Maurizi said.

Also on rt.com Stefania Maurizi: Julian Assange’s health is being DESTROYED & EU stands up to US over Iran (E767)

The behavior of Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and its coordination with authorities in the US, Sweden and Ecuador to actively disrupt her Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, endangers not only her ability to do her job as a journalist, argues Maurizi, but those of all of her fellow journalists around the world. 

Thanks to an almost entirely unredacted letter she received from Sweden, Maurizi discovered that the CPS advised Swedish authorities against the only strategy which could have led to a quick resolution of the sexual assault case – to interview Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in a timely fashion. Instead, Assange was kept in a “legal quagmire” for years, she argues. 

When she issued the same FOI requests to authorities in the other countries involved, the relevant documents were so heavily redacted as to be virtually useless for investigative purposes. Maurizi said the authorities’ claims that her FOI request was not in the public interest was complete “nonsense.” 

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“It makes absolute sense to ask whether the US was considering extradition and to put Julian Assange in jail,” she said, defending the right of the press to access the document, without risking “having your life destroyed.” 

If we look at Julian Assange, he has had his health basically destroyed. They are destroying him. They are destroying his mental health. His physical health. The price is so high, a journalist should not pay such a price for exposing war crimes and torture.

Assange remains in prison in southeast London awaiting his possible extradition to the US where he could stand trial for espionage. Meanwhile, Maurizi awaits a final decision in the upper tier court of appeal in the UK regarding additional access to unredacted documents pertaining to the treatment of Assange by US, UK, Swedish, and Ecuadorian authorities in a case which could heavily impact the practice of journalism in the UK. 

Wednesday is Assange’s 48th birthday and many of his supporters have been holding events to mark the date while calling for extradition efforts against him to be quashed.

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