Stefania Maurizi

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Person.png Stefania Maurizi Twitter WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(journalist)
Stefania Maurizi.jpg
Journalist who worked on the WikiLeaks releases of secret documents

Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist who works for the Italian daily la Repubblica, after ten years working for the Italian news magazine l'Espresso. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents, and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden files about Italy.

On 19 February 2020, Stefania Maurizi tweeted:[1]

Trump offered to pardon #Assange if he covered up Russian interference in US election, court told.[2]

FOI request

Stefania Maurizi has started a multijurisdictional FOIA litigation effort to defend the right of the press to access the full set of documents on the Julian Assange and WikiLeaks case. In September 2015, Maurizi used an FOI to ask the CPS for its full correspondence with the Swedish Prosecution Authority (SPA) concerning its criminal investigation into Assange over a 2012 rape allegation. The CPS refused to hand over the correspondence, saying it was exempt information under three sections of the FOI Act relating to international relations, criminal proceedings, and personal data.

Maurizi also asked for any correspondence about Assange between the CPS and Ecuador, which granted the whistleblower asylum in its London embassy for almost seven years, as well as the CPS and the US Department of Justice and the US State Department.

The CPS refused to either confirm or deny whether it had any such correspondence (known as an NCND response), relying on the part of the FOIA exempting confidential information obtained from another state.

Maurizi appealed against all of these refusals to the Information Commissioner, who sided with the CPS. She then took the battle to the First-Tier Tribunal in 2017, and the Upper Tribunal, which heard the case in July 2019. The journalist had argued that the FTT had failed to take into account changes in the “facts, matters and circumstances” around the case since the CPS’ original refusal in 2015.

In 2017, Sweden dropped its investigation into a rape allegation against Assange after finding that “all possibilities to conduct the investigation are exhausted”, revoking a European Arrest Warrant. Also in 2017, the SPA gave the CPS consent to disclose much of the correspondence which had previously been confidential, resulting in additional disclosures made to Maurizi.

The journalist therefore claimed the FTT’s decision should have taken the updated public interest arguments into account, an approach “would make the FOIA regime much more user-friendly for journalists and other requesters”.

Request denied

But Judge Edward Mitchell disagreed, ruling that the FTT had “rightly conducted a public interest balancing exercise according to circumstances as they stood in late 2015”:

“I… had difficulty understanding why, as a matter of legal principle, an executive body would be required to make decisions according to current circumstances. I accept this is very often sensible but there is not, to my knowledge, an Act of Parliament that mandates it.”

Judge Mitchell said he was bound by a previous Upper Tribunal decision on a similar point because it was made by three judges instead of one, but that he “likely” would have ruled against Maurizi regardless. He also ruled that the FTT had not erred in law in dismissing Maurizi’s appeal against the Information Commissioner regarding either the Ecuadorean or US state authorities. He was “not persuaded” that the FTT had “left out of account any relevant considerations in carrying out the NCND public interest balancing exercising”.

After receiving the judgment in September 2019, Maurizi told Press Gazette:

“The UK authorities bear huge responsibilities for Assange's serious conditions: clearly, they want to break him down. And the fact that the Swedish authorities, the UK authorities, the US authorities and the Australian ones keep denying me access to the full documentation is completely suspicious.”[3]

Other interests

Stefania Maurizi has also interviewed A.Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistani atomic bomb, revealed the condolence payment agreement between the US government and the family of the Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto killed in a US drone strike, and investigated the harsh working conditions of Pakistani workers in a major Italian garment factory in Karachi.[4]

Publications

Stefania Maurizi authored two books: "Dossier WikiLeaks. Segreti Italiani" and "Una Bomba, Dieci Storie", the latter translated into Japanese.[5]

 

Event Participated in

EventStartEndLocation(s)
International Festival of Whistleblowing Dissent and Accountability8 May 20218 May 2021Internet

 

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Julian Assange Must be Freed, Not BetrayedArticle18 February 2020John PilgerSarah Ferguson's interview made no mention of a leaked document, revealed by WikiLeaks, called 'Libya Tick Tock', prepared for Hillary Clinton, which described her as the central figure driving the destruction of the Libyan state in 2011. This resulted in 40,000 deaths, the arrival of ISIS in North Africa and the European refugee and migrant crisis.
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