U.S. Justice Department says Assange is not protected by the First Amendment

The United States is trying to extradite Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange to the United States for trial, and a judge has set a date for the extradition hearing: the first week is scheduled for February 24. At a just-held hearing, U.S. prosecutors testified that Assange did not enjoy the First Amendment’s protection of free speech because he was not a U.S. citizen and that the constitutional amendment did not protect speech outside the United States.

Assange attended the hearing via video link. His personal health was also a focus of the hearing.

WikiLeaks Ambassador Joseph Farrell said depriving Assange of speech protection under the U.S. Constitution would mean that no foreign journalist would be protected by the First Amendment, which would be a bad precedent.

U.S. Justice Department says Assange is not protected by the First Amendment