Wagenknecht sees Scholz and Baerbock as responsible
Gysi gets approval from party colleague Sahra Wagenknecht. “A bad day for democracy, freedom of the press, human rights,” writes the former parliamentary group leader of the Left Party in the Bundestag. Wagenknecht sees the federal government as having an obligation in this case. “Where is the protest from Baerbock or Scholz? This ignorance, with which one overlooks the fate of Assange and war crimes by the USA, cries to heaven,” Wagenknecht wrote on Twitter. Criticism also came from MEP Martin Sonneborn.
The human rights policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Peter Heidt, regretted the British government’s decision. Non-extradition would have been “a strong sign of freedom of the press,” said Heidt, according to a statement. The FDP MP expressed his surprise “that the British government saw no reasons against Assange’s extradition to the USA”. However, he also emphasized that Great Britain and the United States of America are constitutional states.
The federal government pointed out that Assange had not yet exhausted the legal process. The federal government has repeatedly emphasized that freedom of expression and freedom of the press is “a great asset,” said deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann. In the extradition proceedings, she is fundamentally in a conflict with questions of state protection of secrets and national interests. This must be weighed against each other. Hoffmann did not want to evaluate the British decision in detail.
Journalists’ Association: Assange “handed over to the knife”
The newly founded writers’ association PEN Berlin, which made Assange an honorary member, called on the government to go further: “We urgently request the federal government to work for his immediate release and to offer him political asylum,” it said in a statement. According to the association, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock campaigned for this as a member of the opposition last year.
The journalists’ associations in Germany were also dismayed by the decision in London. British Interior Minister Priti Patel had “handed Assange to the knife and thus massively damaged press freedom,” said the federal director of the German Union of Journalists (dju), Monique Hofmann, on Friday. “This is a serious defeat for democracy and a disgrace for the rule of law.”
“Wikileaks uncovered and made public war crimes committed by the USA in Afghanistan and Iraq, about which the victims, survivors and the entire world public needed clarity,” said the chairman of the German Association of Journalists (DJV), Frank Überall. He called on US law enforcement to drop the charges against Assange. The organization Reporters Without Borders spoke of a “devastating signal for freedom of the press”.