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It's well past time to free Julian Assange

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Wednesday marks perhaps the most important momentyet in the case against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange. From October 27 -28, the High Court in London will consider the US government's appeal against the January decision opposing Assange's extradition to the US, where he would face trial on 18 charges that could land him in a supermax prison for the rest of his life — all for publishing information in the public interest.

The US government will be allowedto appeal on five specific grounds, following the High Court's decision to widen the scope of the appeal in a preliminary hearing on August 11, which now includes the US government's attempts to discredit a key witness who testified on the state of Assange's mental health, as well as other narrow, more technical grounds.

My organization, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), welcomed the decision opposing extradition, but criticized the substance of the ruling, which was based only on mental health grounds. We share the serious concerns about Assange's mental health, and for this reason have stated that his extradition to the US is a possible matter of life or death.

However, the court failed to take a strong position in favor of journalism and press freedom, which we fear leaves the door open to future similar prosecutions against publishers, journalists and sources.

Rebecca Vincent is........

© Deutsche Welle

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