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Is Julian Assange Being Unjustly Persecuted By The U.S. Government?

A UK court recently ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States. Assange faces serious charges over violating the Espionage Act, based on WikiLeaks' publication of classified United States government documents and video related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The prosecution has been condemned by a number of press freedom and human rights organizations, but there are those who argue that Assange is a criminal or even a "terrorist."

To discuss the case, Nathan is joined by one of the leading experts on it, Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. Prof. Melzer is a specialist in human rights law who has served as a legal adviser to the Red Cross, and is currently Human Rights Chair of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow. His book The Trial of Julian Assange: A Story of Persecution is forthcoming from Verso.

We discuss:

- What was actually revealed by the documents that Assange is being prosecuted for publishing, including evidence of serious war crimes by the United States government, and why it's important to keep the focus on the horrifying un-prosecuted crimes that WikiLeaks exposed 

- Why leaks are necessary in order to keep acts of murder and torture from being conducted with impunity, and how the U.S. government has created a situation in which leaks are the only way for crucial information about our wars to reach the public

- Whether Assange should be considered to have broken U.S. law for good reason or whether he did not break U.S. law at all, and why Prof. Melzer thinks Assange is not in fact guilty of a crime even under the Espionage Act

- Why Prof. Melzer thinks it would be the "end of press freedom" if Assange is convicted in the U.S. justice system

- Why Assange's lengthy confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy was involuntary and even raised deep human rights issues that led Prof. Melzer to publicly suggest Assange was being subject to a form of psychological torture 

The story Nathan references about deaths at U.S. checkpoints is here. The story about the U.S. gunning down insurgents who were trying to surrender is here

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