WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
WikiLeaks has dismissed claims that it put a gay Saudi man in mortal danger by outing him in its release of classified government documents.
According to the Associated Press (AP), WikiLeaks disclosures have not only targeted and embarrassed governments and agencies, but they have inadvertently also exposed the “personal information of hundreds of people”.
This, it claims, includes the identities and records of sick children, teenage rape victims, mental health patients and, in one case, the name of a Saudi citizen previously detained for being gay.
AP described this as “an extraordinary move given that homosexuality can lead to social ostracism, a prison sentence or even death in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom”.
Critics say that WikiLeaks should have taken the time to obscure the personal data of ordinary people that are included in the information dump, as it has done in the past.
LGBT rights activist Scott Long told AP that, by releasing the gay man’s details, the site is aiding oppressive regimes. “You’re legitimising their surveillance, not combating it,” Long said.
On its Twitter account, WikiLeaks has rubbished the allegations and claims that this is old news and is part of a media campaign to discredit it ahead of the US presidential election.
It’s suggested that this is aimed to protect contender Hillary Clinton from leaks that may embarrass her and hurt her chances of being elected.
“No, WikiLeaks did not disclose ‘gays’ to the Saudi govt,” WikiLeaks tweeted. “Data is from govt & not leaked by us. Story from 2015. Re-run now due to election,” it claimed.
Created by Julian Assange in 2006, WikiLeaks is an international non-profit media organisation that publishes secret information in a bid to combat illicit government activities, including corruption and spying.