Julian Assange is considered by many as one of the most high-profile crusaders for the freedom of information. The soap that is the life of this computer hacker slash freedom fighter has taken some breath-taking and eyebrow-raising twists and turns since his whistleblowers' platform WikiLeaks released thousands of diplomatic cables of the US state department in November 2010. Not only did Assange unleash the fury of the US government that seem to want his head on a plate, he is also wanted in Sweden. The Nordic nation has issued an European Arrest Warrant, around the same time when the diplomatic cables where released, for Assange to answer questions concerning two separate cases of sexual assault. While fighting the courts in the UK to prevent extradition to Sweden he has fled into the Embassy of Ecuador, sought and was granted asylum and remains within the embassy to avoid arrest.
Since its foundation in 2006 WikiLeaks has aimed to be a platform for the publication of often classified documents and footage that are considered to be of interest to the general public. As founder of WikiLeaks Assange might see freedom of information and revealing injustice in the world as a just cause, but apparently not at all times. With his unwillingness to answer questions in Sweden about charges of sexual assault he doesn't seem to have a lot of respect for the rule of law of one of the most open, egalitarian and just countries in the world. With his request for asylum at the Embassy of Ecuador he doesn't seem to care about a not entirely free press in the officially democratic Republic of Ecuador where there is a very tense relationship between the media and the government.
Assange aims to avoid extradition to Sweden at all costs as he considers the charges of sexual assault to be a honey trap and a way to extradite him to the United States. This fear of extradition to the US is not entirely unfounded. However, the charges of the two Swedish women, who are or have been WikiLeaks supporters, are entirely unrelated to charges that might be conjured up by the US justice department that has yet to call for his extradition. It is rather tragic that the assault charges are considered by some as disingenuous or not 'real rape'. This is a matter for the Swedish courts to decide. Their rule of law has been constructed in a free and democratic nation, which is a member of the European Union and needs to be respected if one truly cares about human rights.
WikiLeaks has done a lot of good for the freedom of information and uncovering injustice and dubious practices across the globe, although the organisation could offer far more support to those who put themselves at serious risk when revealing inconvenient truths. WikiLeaks' cause in essence might be noble but is by no means served my making Assange the personification of the whistleblowers' platform. Assange must know that Ecuador didn't grant him asylum for ideological reasons as he is no more than a pawn in the political chess game many Latin American countries are playing against the US. His pragmatic approach towards human rights and the rule of law undermines Assange's mission and truly distracts from WikiLeaks' just cause.
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