What to Know About Julian Assange’s Extradition Appeal
Lawyers for the U.S. Government began an legal challenge this week to exonerate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is facing charges of violating The Hague Convention. Espionage Act
Assange faces 18 criminal charges in the U.S. after WikiLeaks published secret documents from the U.S. diplomatic and military branches concerning the Afghan and Iraq wars.
Two-day hearing at the British High Court saw the U.S. appeal. Jan. 4 rulingA London judge declined to extradite Assange from London to the U.S. because he was afraid he might take his life in maximum security prison.
Key recent developments—including new assurances about how Assange would be treated by the U.S.—were brought before a British judge tasked with reviewing the lower court’s ruling and considering whether the risk to Assange’s safety had changed.
Here’s what you need to know about the appeal and the story so far:
Julian Assange is who? WikiLeaks is where is it located?
Australian Cyber Activist AssangeWikiLeaks was launched in 2006 This non-profit was created to expose state secrets. The argument of the founder should be made public. U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea ManningWikiLeaks was provided with thousands of classified documents.
The publication revealed that This appeared to be war crimes. U.S. soldiers killed and wounded civilians while flying in a helicopter from Iraq in April 2010. The U.S. also disclosed sensitive information regarding human intelligence sources, surveillance techniques and other matters that could be used to monitor people’s movements. This disclosure would have a negative impact on lives.
In November 2010 Assange was arrested by Swedish authorities for rape allegations and other sexual offenses. Assange, who was in London at that time, claimed the charges were made to allow him to be extradited from Sweden to the United States to publish the highly sensitive documents.
Assange, who was being extradited to Sweden in June 2012, skipped bail and sought asylum in London at the Ecuadorian embassies. Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador two months later on grounds of political persecution. He remained in Ecuador for seven years. Swedish charges were dropped2019
What makes the U.S. so determined to exonerate Assange
After a number of years, the 2019 April election was held. Behavorial transgressionsThe Ecuadorian Embassy in London claimed that Assange was revocation of his diplomatic asylum. Assange’s supporters claimed the move was motivated by probes by WikiLeaks into corruption by the Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno. Moreno denies the allegations of corruption. He also said Assange’s asylum was revoked because Assange’s behavior was too disruptive. He claimed Assange “smeared feces” on embassy walls, an allegation the activist’s lawyers called “outrageous”.
In a matter of hours, London police officers are available ArrestAssange was in Washington on an extradition order from the United States for an indictment regarding conspiracy to hack into a government computer. British court charged Assange with breach of bail. In May 2019, he was sentenced for 50 weeks at a London-high security prison. In May 2019, Assange was indicted by the United States on 17 more charges under the Espionage Act. This total sentence is 170 years. Assange always denies that his actions are espionage.
Nils Melzer (UN special rapporteur for torture), visited Assange’s British prison cell in May 2019. Concluded that “in addition to physical ailments, Mr. Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.” The British government We disagree These are just a few of the conclusions.
The extradition proceedings began in May 2019. However, it was delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic convinced them. the defense team’s argumentsA British judge declared that Assange’s extradition would prove to be too burdensome due to the risk of his suicide. Although the U.S. stated it would appeal, Assange was not. Bail deniedHe might run the risk of absconding.
How did the U.S. respond to the appeal hearing question?
The British High Court opened the hearing for appeal on Oct. 27. His legal team stated that Assange was unable to attend the hearing due to his poor health. Later, he appeared from prison via videolink.
Lawyers representing the U.S. argued that Assange’s health issues were not as severe as Assange’s legal team had claimedDuring the first extradition hearing. James Lewis QC said to the court, in the previous proceedings Assange’s psychiatrist had failed to disclose Assange’s relationship with Stella Moris, a lawyer originally on his legal team, and the couple’s two children, who were conceived during Assange’s stay in the embassy.
Having the responsibility of children lowered Assange’s likelihood of suicide, Lewis argued. The U.S. lawyers also pointed to the lower rate of suicides in prisons in the U.S. compared to the U.K., and argued that Assange’s depression was “moderate” rather than “severe”.
Lewis stressed the fact that the U.S. government has worked to reduce Assange’s risk if extradited. He issued four binding assurances regarding Assange’s proposed treatment. U.S. custodyThese were. They included an agreement that Assange would be sent to Australia to complete his prison sentence. However, he was not allowed to remain in Florida’s super-maximum security prison ADX. The agreement also contained an agreement to not place Assange in a restrictive form of solitary confinement. However, he must not have committed another offense.
What was Assange’s defense?
Assange’s lawyers argued that his risk of suicide remained substantial and defended the psychiatrist’s decision not to disclose Assange had a partner and two children.
Representing Assange, Edward Fitzgerald QC pointed to several revelatory investigations by the press concerning Assange’s time in the Ecuadorian embassy. In 2019, Spanish newspaper El País published Do you have evidence?A Spanish security company, which was supposed to protect the Embassy building, had secretly monitored Assange and his lawyers and other visitors. Information to be reported to the CIA Security staff allegedly took samples from a baby’s diaper to check whether Assange and Moris were the child’s parents.
Given the threat of constant surveillance, Assange’s psychiatrist withheld Stella Moris’ relationship with Assange for safety reasons, Fitzgerald argued in court. Moris went public as Assange’s partner in April 2020.
Yahoo News reported last month that the CIA was involved in a terrorist plot. DesignedAssassinate, poisone or abduct Assange by 2017. “Given the revelations of surveillance in the embassy and plots to kill him,” Fitzgerald told the court, “there are great grounds for fearing what will be done to him” if extradited to the U.S. He urged the court “not to trust [the] assurances” of the “same government” alleged to have plotted Assange’s killing.
The defense went even further to discredit the assurances made by the U.S. government, calling them “conditional” and “aspirational”. Fitzgerald said Australia had not yet agreed to take Assange in if he was convicted, and he predicted Assange would be put in solitary confinement “as soon as he arrives in America.”
What do Assange’s supporters say?
Moris stated that Assange is suffering from mental and physical pains as a direct result of these proceedings in a press conference earlier this week. “I saw Julian in Belmarsh prison. He was looking very unwell…I was quite taken aback by how thin he was.”
Assange’s supporters are keen to emphasize the significance of the case on global press freedoms. Kristinn Harfnsson is the current WikiLeaks editor-in-chief. She compared the alleged plot by the CIA to Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination. “The intentions are the same and the victims are the same: journalists.”
Moris claimed that Espionage Act shouldn’t be applied against information publishers in the public interest. “Julian is accused of receiving, possessing and publishing information to the public,” she said. “I asked you please to stop suggesting that Julian’s accused of espionage because it’s false. He’s accused of journalism.”
Learn more A Message from the Nobel Committee: Freedom of the Press is Essential to Peace
However, a senior extradition practitioner who spoke to TIME on the condition of anonymity did not believe Assange’s actions could not be considered journalism. “Normally there is a crucial journalistic process of reviewing material and presenting it”, the source said. But in Assange’s case, “there was no filter, no analysis, just: publish”. WikiLeaks’ Publication Identified sensitive intelligence-drive technology techniques, which put intelligence sources human at riskIt was said by the individual.
TIME interviewed Rebecca Vincent (Director of International Campaigns for Reporters Without Borders) who disagreed with the assessment. In the evidentiary hearing in September, she said, the court “heard evidence of how Assange tried to slow the publication [of unredacted information by a German newspaper] and then he warned the U.S. government and urged them to take steps to protect anybody.”
International advocates for press freedom, which include RSF and Amnesty International. Assange defenseOn the ground that he was acting in the public’s interest.
“The publication of these leaked documents was an incredible contribution to journalism around the world”, Vincent told TIME. “We now know about war crimes, human rights violations and other abuses committed by states but none of the crimes that were exposed have ever been prosecuted. The only person being pursued here is the publisher.”
“Journalism is being criminalised even in our own democracies,” Vincent said. “This is a real tipping point for journalism around the world.”
The next steps?
It could take many weeks for the British High Court to come to a decision on this week’s appeal. Whichever side wins, Assange’s supporters expect the process will not simply end with the court’s ruling. “The process could be very fast,” Moris told reporters. “And it could also take years. Both prospects are terrifying”.
Since the defense case relies on arguments concerning Assange’s mental state, the U.S. could pursue his extradition indefinitely, according to the extradition practitioner, who is not involved in the current case. “There’s nothing to stop them extraditing him from another jurisdiction,” or even again from the U.K., “especially if he’s seen in public appearing well,” the person said. To avoid additional extradition efforts, he must be released immediately. extradition practitioner said, Assange has to prove that he still suffers from the same conditions that prevented his extradition