PACE Rapporteur Says 'Horrified' at Reports of CIA's Plans to Kill Assange
20:34 GMT 28.09.2021 (Updated: 18:18 GMT 03.11.2022)
PARIS (Sputnik) - The general rapporteur on the protection of whistleblowers for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Dutch parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt, has expressed grave concern over reports that the CIA had allegedly discussed assassinating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
On Monday, several media reported that US officials and the CIA leadership allegedly plotted to kidnap and assassinate Assange in 2017 while he was hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Omtzigt noted that such an act is unthinkable for a democracy.
"If these reports are true, I am horrified. To kidnap or kill a civilian who published leaked documents would be a gross violation of basic Council of Europe human rights principles – and, one would hope, unthinkable in the world’s most powerful democracy. Reports that high-level US officials may have considered such an option are deeply worrying," Omtzigt said in a statement.
The rapporteur referred to a 2020 PACE resolution calling for a ban on Assange's extradition to the United States and demanded his immediate release.
Omtzigt stressed that the Assembly has "made clear that the detention and criminal prosecution of Mr Assange sets a dangerous precedent for journalists" and that such reports "reinforce our concern that Mr Assange could be treated most unfairly."
28 September 2021, 18:51 GMT
He further urged UK courts to take this new information into consideration when ruling on Assange’s extradition to the US.
The whistleblower, arrested in London in 2019 for jumping bail in 2012, faces up to 175 years in solitary confinement on espionage charges for leaking classified military documents on US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is currently awaiting court hearing on the US appeal concerning his extradition.
The appeal will be heard on October 27-28.