(WASHINGTON)– PEN America issued the following statement from Washington Director Nadine Farid Johnson about Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States:

“Today’s decision makes clear: the onus is on the U.S. Department of Justice to drop the charges against Assange under the Espionage Act, once and for all. As we have said before, this indictment being pursued by the Justice Department encompasses conduct that is appropriately and routinely undertaken by the media. Pursuing these Espionage Act charges poses a significant threat to press freedom. It sends a chilling message to journalists on the one hand, and to authoritarian governments who would gladly undermine their rights, on the other. The Biden Administration must return to its stated principles and drop these charges, in the interest of press freedom and the United States’ global standing with respect to human rights.”

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, STrimel@PEN.org, 201-247-5057