A UK judge rejected a US extradition request for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today, citing concerns over Assange’s mental health. US officials charged Assange with 17 counts of espionage in 2019 related to WikiLeaks soliciting and publishing classified government information. Assange has remained in UK custody since 2019, and US officials are expected to appeal today’s ruling.
More context: The charges filed in 2019 raised concerns about First Amendment rights, particularly around freedom of the press. It has been difficult to legally distinguish WikiLeak’s actions from those of traditional press, drawing concerns around potentially criminalizing long-protected publishing actions of national security journalists.