Source/Author: IJAS

The Independent Journalists Association of Serbia (IJAS), the Journalists Association of Serbia (JAS) and the Union of Journalists of Serbia (UJS) held a rally today in front of the House of Journalists in Belgrade in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange shortly before the London court’s decision on his extradition to the United States of America (USA).

The organizers of the meeting said that the decision of the Royal Court of Justice to extradite Julian Assange to the USA would mean a ban on freedom of speech and investigative journalism.

Kristina Kovac Nastasic from JAS addressed the crowd on their behalf. She said that journalism is a public good because every society and every citizen benefits from professional journalism.

“By pointing out abuses, violations of the law, corruption, evil and injustice, often far from the eyes of the public, journalism contributes to people’s freedom and democracy. That’s why journalism is a public good”, said Kovac Nastasic.

She stated that if the court decide to extradite Assange, it would have tragic consequences for him because he could be sentenced to death. Also, journalism as a profession would be irreversibly threatened.

“The decision of the Government of Great Britain to extradite Assange will stand as a permanent threat to every investigative journalist, every fighter against dirty projects, violence and crimes, whether behind them are states, tycoons, interest groups or individuals. Our message to the Royal Court of Justice in London is: DON’T EXTRADIT ASSANGE”, said Kovac Nastasic.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will appear in London’s High Court today in what is likely to be his last attempt to avoid extradition to the US, which accuses him of espionage.

Assange is accused, along with whistleblower and former US military analyst Chelsea Manning, of conspiring by hacking into a Pentagon computer and releasing secret diplomatic cables and military files.

The WikiLeaks revelations exposed details of US activities in Iraq and Afghanistan and included video footage of a helicopter attack by US forces that killed 11 people, including two Reuters journalists.

Assange’s lawyers say that if he is found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.