Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder and chief editor has asked permission to appeal against his extradition from the US to the British court which ordered it. He argues that Washington’s assurances are invalid and unreliable.
Assange submitted his “application for leave to appeal”Stella Moris was his fiancée and announced the news via social media on Thursday morning. His extradition was approved by the High Court on December 10. The Supreme Court will decide if he can appeal. It is unlikely that the decision will be made before January 3rd.
Assange was to be held in conditions that could lead to mental illness and suicide risk. This decision had been made by Vanessa Baraitser, Magistrate. The State Department responded the US was offering assurances not to place Assange under Special Administrative Measures (SAM) or send him to the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado – but explicitly reserved the right to do so at any time based on its own assessment of Assange’s words or actions after January 4, 2021.
Moris quoted an Amnesty International article dated July declaring the conditional assurances. “inherently unreliable”This amounts to torture. According to Moris, Assange’s appeal intends to argue that this clashes with section 91 of the UK Extradition Act, which bans “oppressive” extraditions.
Points one through four of the assurances letter clearly state that “the United States” has the right to “impose SAMs on Mr. Assange” and “designate him to ADX” if he says or does anything after January 4, 2021 which would lead to (contd). pic.twitter.com/PG7INLp4f8
— Stella Moris #FreeAssangeNOW (@StellaMoris1) December 23, 2021
Under English law, the same High Court judges that ordered the extradition must certify that at least one of Assange’s three grounds for appeal is of “general public importance”Moris stated that this would enable the Supreme Court of Justice to decide the case.
Assange was charged with violating the US Espionage Act over WikiLeaks’ publication of the Pentagon’s documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010. Assange could spend up to 175 Years in Prison if convicted.
The WikiLeaks publisher sought asylum from Ecuador in 2012, suspecting – correctly, as it turned out – that the US sought his arrest and extradition via unsubstantiated charges pressed in Sweden. He ended up stranded at Ecuador’s embassy in London for years, until his asylum was revoked under pressure from Washington, and British police arrested him in April 2019. Since then, he has been kept in South London’s maximum security Belmarsh jail.
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