Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Supporters of Julian Assange demonstrate outside the British Home Office

Supporters of Julian Assange demonstrate in front of the British Home Office in London on May 17, 2022. (Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Doctors to Top UK Officials: 'Do Not Extradite Julian Assange; Free Him'

A group of more than 300 medical professionals warned that extraditing the WikiLeaks founder to the U.S. would make the British government complicit in his "slow-motion execution."

Jake Johnson

With the U.K. home secretary expected to decide this week whether to approve Julian Assange's extradition to the United States to face prosecution for publishing classified information, a group of more than 300 medical professionals elevated its call Monday for the British government to immediately free the WikiLeaks founder or be complicit in his "slow-motion execution."

"Under conditions in which the U.K. legal system has failed to take Mr. Assange's current health status into account, no valid decision regarding his extradition may be made, by yourself or anyone else," Doctors for Assange, a coalition of representing physicians and other medical professionals from 35 countries, wrote in a letter to U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"The extradition of a person with such compromised health... is medically and ethically unacceptable."

The group noted that Assange's physical and mental health has been steadily deteriorating since 2019, when he was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and jailed in a high-security prison under conditions that human rights experts have deemed torture.

"During the extradition proceedings, the [U.K. Supreme Court] heard and accepted medical evidence that Mr. Assange's mental health was such that an extradition order, if imposed, would likely inflict substantial risk of suicide on him," Doctors for Assange wrote in the letter, which is dated June 10 and was released to the public on Monday.

"The subsequent 'assurances' of the United States government that Mr. Assange would not be treated inhumanly are worthless given their record of pursuit, persecution, and plotted murder of Mr. Assange in retaliation for his public interest journalism," the group added, pointing to reports that in 2017—then under the leadership of Mike Pompeo—the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency considered kidnapping or assassinating Assange.

Ultimately, the Trump administration opted to continue pursuing Assange's extradition, hoping to put him on trial for publishing classified material that exposed U.S. war crimes.

Despite warnings about the case's dangerous implications for press freedoms around the world, the Biden Justice Department has continued pushing the U.K. to extradite Assange to the U.S., where the WikiLeaks publisher could face up to 175 years in prison for committing a common act of journalism.

"Should he come to harm in the U.S. under these circumstances it is you, home secretary, who will be left holding the responsibility for that negligent outcome," the medical professionals warned. "The extradition of a person with such compromised health, moreover, is medically and ethically unacceptable."

"Home secretary, in making your decision as to extradition, do not make yourself, your government, and your country complicit in the slow-motion execution of this award-winning journalist, arguably the foremost publisher of our time," the letter continued. "Do not extradite Julian Assange; free him."

In April, a British judge formally signed off on the U.S. extradition request after months of legal proceedings, leaving it to Patel to decide whether to follow through with the order.

Days after the judge's decision, Reporters Without Borders and 19 other organizations sent a letter imploring Patel to "act in the interest of press freedom and journalism by refusing extradition and immediately releasing Mr. Assange from prison, where he has remained on remand for three years despite the great risks posed to his mental and physical health."

"His prosecution," the groups wrote, "would set a dangerous precedent that could be applied to any media outlet that published stories based on leaked information, or indeed any journalist, publisher, or source anywhere in the world. "

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·

Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·

'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo