FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Independent Media Association (IMA) today marked the 4th anniversary of Julian Assange's imprisonment with a stark reminder that press freedom cannot exist when journalists are persecuted and imprisoned for doing their job. The IMA is calling for the immediate release of journalist and WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who is currently held at Belmarsh prison.
Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested in 2019 for violating bail conditions in the UK and has been held in prison ever since. He faces extradition to the US, where he is charged with espionage and could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted.
"Julian Assange's imprisonment is a grave violation of press freedom and the public's right to know," said IMA Chair Tchiyiwe Chihana. "Journalists should not be punished for revealing information in the public interest. It is unacceptable that Assange, who has won numerous awards for his journalism, continues to be treated like a criminal."
Assange's case is perhaps the most well known violation of press freedom and the UK government is complicit in this. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture has condemned his treatment, stating that he has been subjected to "psychological torture."
"On this anniversary, we must remember that the free press is essential to a functioning democracy," Chihana added. "The persecution of journalists like Julian Assange sends a chilling message to all those who seek to hold power to account. We call on the UK government to release him immediately, drop the extradition request, and cement further protections for independent media and journalists in UK law."
The IMA is a membership organisation that promotes independent media’s role in democracy.