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For Immediate Release

Contact

CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper

Phone: 202-744-7726

E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com

Press Release

CAIR Reiterates Call for Biden Administration to Drop Charges Against Julian Assange for Exposing War Crimes in Iraq

WASHINGTON -

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today reiterated its call for the Biden Administration to end the Justice Department's ongoing effort to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange for his role in exposing evidence of war crimes committed by U.S. forces during the occupation of Iraq. 

Today, a British court overturned a lower court's earlier ruling that barred the UK government from extraditing Assange to the United States. Earlier this year, the Justice Department announced that prosecutors would carry on the Trump administration's effort to prosecute Assange.

In a statement, CAIR National Government Affairs Director Robert S. McCaw said: 

"Prosecuting Julian Assange for exposing war crimes committed against Iraqi civilians would chill free speech, undermine freedom of the press and harm America's image around the world. The only people who should face prosecution today are the war criminals that WikiLeaks exposed over ten years." 

In 2010, WikiLeaks released government materials related to American military operations in the Middle East. The release included video showing American helicopter pilots in Iraq making jokes as they opened fire on a group of non-combatants that included civilians and journalists, as well as on Iraqis who came to their aid, killing numerous civilians and seriously wounding two children. 

During the Obama Administration, the Justice Department did not pursue charges against Assange for his role in receiving and publishing the documents "on the grounds that what Assange and WikiLeaks did was too similar to journalistic activities protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution." 

According to Reuters, "Trump administration officials stepped up public criticism of Assange and WikiLeaks only weeks after taking office in January 2017 and subsequently filed a series of increasingly harsh criminal charges accusing Assange of participating in a hacking conspiracy."  

###

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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