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Difficult Word/ PhraseContextual Sense
Relentless not stopping
Persecution cruel and unfair treatment of a person or group, especially because of their political beliefs
Fillip Anything that makes one feel encouraged
Go-ahead A signal to proceed
Extradite Hand over to the authorities of another country
Collaborate Work together on a common enterprise of project
Tenure The term during which some position is held
Predecessor One who precedes you in time (as in holding a position or office)
Grave Causing fear or anxiety by threatening great harm
Severe Intensely or extremely bad or unpleasant in degree or quality
Autocracy A political system governed by a single individual
Redaction an edited work
Bulwark something giving strong support or encouragement in time of need, danger, or doubt
Repertoire A list or supply of something
Perpetrator a person who carries out a harmful, illegal, or immoral act
Dog Go after with the intent to catch
Forefront the leading position in any movement or field
Enshrine preserve (a right, tradition, or idea) in a form that ensures it will be protected and respected
Pivotal Being of crucial importance
Onus something that is one’s duty or responsibility

An unjust pursuit: On U.S.’ relentless (not stopping) pursuit of Julian Assange

Julian Assange deserves freedom, not persecution (cruel and unfair treatment of a person or group, especially because of their political beliefs) for investigative journalism

The United States’s relentless pursuit of Julian Assange received a fillip (Anything that makes one feel encouraged) after the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, gave the go-ahead (A signal to proceed) to extradite (Hand over to the authorities of another country) him to the U.S. Wanted for criminal charges, which include violation of the country’s Espionage Act of 1917, Mr. Assange could face punishment ranging up to 175 years in prison if convicted in the U.S. The charges were framed under the Donald Trump administration after accusing him of collaborating (Work together on a common enterprise of project) with U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning who published classified documents and communications on wikileaks.org, the website run by Mr. Assange. Mr. Assange is the first journalist to have been charged under the First World War era Act. Ironically, during the tenure (The term during which some position is held) of Mr. Trump’s predecessor (One who precedes you in time (as in holding a position or office)), Barack Obama (U.S. President Joe Biden was the Vice-President then) the Justice Department had concluded that it would not pursue criminal charges against Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks as it would pose grave (Causing fear or anxiety by threatening great harm) threats to the country’s press freedom laws, particularly the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution that guarantees freedom of expression. The cables and documents published by WikiLeaks reveal the severe (Intensely or extremely bad or unpleasant in degree or quality) abuse of international and humanitarian law, war excesses and crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. government among others, besides shining a light on the inner workings of the elite in democracies and autocracies (A political system governed by a single individual) across the world. The diplomatic cables in particular, initially released after careful redaction (an edited work) by media organisations, and other documents went on to form the bulwark (something giving strong support or encouragement in time of need, danger, or doubt) of a large repertoire (A list or supply of something) of investigative journalism. In a rational world, the perpetrators (a person who carries out a harmful, illegal, or immoral act.) of the excesses revealed by WikiLeaks would have been pursued for justice while Mr. Assange would have been released from his harsh and extended stay in a British prison.

Yet, the dogged (Go after with the intent to catch) pursuit of Mr. Assange has been renewed by the Biden administration. The only guarantee that it has provided is that it will not hold him in a maximum security prison, which has strict confinement rules, and that if convicted, he could serve his sentence in his native Australia if he requested it. Its position runs counter to its stated aim of bringing the U.S. back to the forefront (the leading position in any movement or field) of world democracies that promote values enshrined (preserve (a right, tradition, or idea) in a form that ensures it will be protected and respected) in the West as pivotal (Being of crucial importance), such as freedom of expression accorded to the press. Subjecting Mr. Assange to trial will be a blow against media freedom in the U.S. and will also criminalise investigative journalism, particularly one that is pointed at the inner workings of the deep state. Mr. Assange’s representatives have filed an appeal before the British High Court. With the present Labor party-led Australian government — Mr. Assange remains an Australian citizen — also expressing its displeasure at the continued pursuit, the onus (something that is one’s duty or responsibility) is on the British judiciary to do right by him.

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