The U.S. government is set to appeal the decision of a U.K. judge who rejected their request to have Julian Assange extradited.
On Monday, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected the request for the WikiLeaks founder to be extradited to face charges of espionage, with the Associated Press reporting she believes Assange's currently "precarious" mental health couldn't withstand the brutal conditions of a U.S. prison.
"I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America," the judge said Monday. The same judge, however, has been criticized by Assange's supporters for supporting what they argue is a mischaracterization of the man and the cause for his imprisonment.
Rebecca Vincent, of Reporters Without Borders, said in a press conference early Monday that she remains "convinced that Mr. Assange has been targeted for his contributions to journalism." She also noted that the judge would likely have handed Mr. Assange over to the U.S. under only slightly different circumstances.
"We disagree with the judge's assessment that this case was not politically motivated," Vincent said. "We disagree with her assessment that it was not about free speech."
Assange has been indicted on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse by prosecutors in the U.S. Though the judge on Monday did not act with the support of free speech in mind when rejecting the extradition request, human rights activism groups and other supporters have celebrated the move as one that will likely have positive ramifications for journalists around the world.