Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), along with Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY), is leading a group of 16 Members of Congress appealing to the Biden administration to abandon all charges against Julian Assange.
Assange, the Australian publisher and WikiLeaks founder, faces charges under the Espionage Act for for releasing sensitive information about the U.S. State Department, Guantanamo Bay, and military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The lawmakers underscored the implications of the charges in the letter, emphasizing the threat they pose to journalistic freedom. They argue targeting Assange could set a dangerous precedent that potentially stifles journalistic expression and inquiry.
McGovern has long been a staunch advocate for human rights and is Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. He said the case highlights a worrying global trend of escalating attacks on press freedom.
“Journalism is not a crime,” McGovern said.
The letter also sheds light on the potential diplomatic fallout of the U.S.’s actions, warning of a significant strain on U.S.-Australia relations should the extradition and prosecution proceed.
Along with his work with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, McGovern is Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee and a membner of the congressional Progressive Caucus.
Joining McGovern and Massie are Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Eric Burlison (R-MO), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Matthew Rosendale, Sr. (R-MT), Greg Casar (D-TX), Cori Bush (D-MO), Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (D-NY), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), all endorsing this critical call for journalistic freedom and fairness.