Assange Decision Expected Shortly
On 4 January 2021, a UK judge ruled that extraditing Julian Assange to the United States would be “oppressive,” would amount to a death sentence, and must be stopped.
Two days before leaving office the Trump Administration appealed this decision, and appeal arguments were heard by the UK’s High Court on 27-28 October 2021. The High Court is due to rule on the U.S. appeal imminently. See Julian Assange’s full response to the U.S. appeal effort here.
The U.S. purports to give “assurances” about the treatment Assange would face in a U.S. prison, in its attempt to overturn the district judge’s opinion. These “assurances” specifically allow the U.S. to inflict torture on Julian Assange, explicitly asserting that the U.S. government can still impose the very conditions that the magistrate found would kill him. Amnesty International has described these so-called assurances as “inherently unreliable” and has said that Assange “must be released immediately.”
The U.S. prosecution is entirely related to documents Assange published in 2010 revealing war crimes and major human rights abuses. Assange faces a 175-year sentence if extradited.
The decision to prosecute Assange has been universally condemned by all major free speech, human rights and media organizations as an unprecedented threat to the public’s right to know.
The ACLU and 24 other groups recently reiterated their opposition to Assange’s prosecution as a “grave threat to journalists and freedom of the press,” which the government should “drop immediately,” following the extraordinary revelation that the CIA deployed a multipronged informational and operational operation against WikiLeaks which included plans to assassinate or kidnap Assange. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the U.S. administration.
Assange is being held as an unconvicted remand inmate at the high-security Belmarsh prison, where he has been since April 2019. Prior to this he spent seven years in effective detention in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, having been granted political asylum. Julian Assange has been in one form of detention since 2010. Julian has a fiancée, Stella Moris, with whom he has two young children.
Reporters Without Borders and the UK National Union of Journalists say: “Our government must ensure the UK is a safe place for journalists and publishers to work. Whilst Julian Assange remains in prison facing extradition, it is not.”
The U.S. government’s ‘star witness’ against Assange on which the CFAA charge relies and which are repeatedly referenced throughout the lower court’s judgement, has recanted his testimony and admitted that he lied about his allegations against Assange.