British human rights activists speak of a “travesty of justice” as the High Court expresses its “confidence” in US insurance.
The UK can extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US and he remains in jail. This is what the High Court of the London Court of Appeal ruled on December 10.
In January 2021, trial judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled against extradition.
Now, the Assange case will return to the first stage of the proceedings, the district court, with the judge required to remit the case to Secretary of State, Priti Patel, who will make the final decision on extradition to the States. -United.
Assange’s legal team is considering how to appeal the ruling. Asking the Supreme Court for a review of the case might be an option, but this Court almost always focuses on constitutional issues and therefore may decline to consider the case.
Hopes for a confirmation of ‘no’ to extradition were high at the start of the day, when groups of human rights activists gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice at the Strand in London to express their support for WikiLeaks . founder. Assange accused under the United States Espionage Act, a law designed to punish spies during World War I.
However, it is now being used not against individuals who sold secrets to other states, but against an Australian journalist who offered the world essential information for the public to understand the brutal reality of the war in the Middle East. .
That is why media freedom advocates have come to court. If extradited, Assange will be treated like a foreign agent he is not.
When the activists learned of the verdict
That anchor was broken at 10:15 a.m., when the verdict was read inside the courtroom and immediately reported by court reporters.
At that point, activists chanting outside understood that the ball sent to a district court would mean more months in prison for the Australian publisher.
We spoke to Clara, who is part of the Julian Assange Defense Committee, a group that has been protesting against Assange’s arbitrary detention since his early years in the Ecuadorian embassy as a refugee.
When the news of a “yes” to extradition arrived, she told meA:
“Apparently the United States is saying Mr. Assange will be treated differently from everyone else in the United States, which is a lie.”
It echoed the sentiments of Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard, who recently said:
Assurances from the US government that he would not put Julian Assange in a maximum security prison or subject him to abusive special administrative measures were discredited by admitting that he reserved the right to void those guarantees.
Now, reports that the CIA considered kidnapping or killing Assange have cast even more doubt on the reliability of America’s promises and further expose the political motivation behind this case.
Cheryl, another activist in Clara’s group, was devastated by the judgment. She is also one of those who regularly visit Belmarsh Prison to sing from outside and make Assange understand that someone is there to support him.
“It is a sad day for democracy, it is a sad day for justice, for humanity and for the independence of the judiciary in the UK, it is lost on all fronts.”
Cheryl’s take on the judicial system’s loss of independence likely has something to do with this conviction Assange passed when he was arrested in April 2019.
“The UK must resist.”
Undoubtedly recalling this invitation to protect the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, the defenders of the freedom of the media held a collective conference in the Court where they evoked the paradox of an Australian journalist sent to an American court by a European court.
Another activist from a popular solidarity group, Peter, told us he was in court because it is the duty of every human being who cares about freedom of expression and the freedom of the media to ‘be there.
He mentioned a few episodes in which the police were sent to their protests:
“I was taken to the police station one day… They were nice to me. The point is, they don’t know why we are protesting. But human rights are everyone’s rights and we are all Assange.
What the verdict says
A more in-depth analysis of the long judgment will be carried out in the coming days. What is clear so far is that the US promises – the so-called “assurances” that many human rights NGOs do not trust – have been seen as reliable by appellate judges.
The United States offered four assurances, in a diplomatic note written on February 5, 2021. And the Court, accepting them even after the delivery of the trial judgment, is satisfied that they rule out the possibility of Assange being subjected to “Special administrative measures” or detained at “ADX” (a maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado, USA), both before trial and after possible conviction.
That is to say:
“… unless after the insurance has been registered, he commits a future act which makes him liable to such conditions of detention.” “
The same confidence is expressed by the UK court that the US will consent to a request by Assange, if found guilty, to be transferred to Australia to serve his sentence. Further, the appellate judges are confident that while Assange is in custody in the United States, he will receive appropriate clinical and psychological treatment, as recommended by a qualified attending clinician in the prison where he is being held.
In other words, the Court totally rejects the “criticisms of these assurances which have been advanced on behalf of Mr. Assange” and, on this basis, ordered that the case be remitted to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Analyzing the shutdown over the next few days will clarify what it really means to have also added:
“… an instruction to proceed as the district judge would have been required to do if it had decided differently on the relevant question of whether Mr. Assange’s mental state was such that it would be oppressive to extradite him,” namely by sending the matter to the Secretary of State. ‘
Anonymous support for Assange and popular solidarity
Among human rights activists outside the tribunal was also “V,” who told Independent Ain Australia, he was part of the collective known as “Anonymous”.
In an interview with him, he explained that his group’s support for Assange is linked to the fact that “Information is the currency of democracy”.
“A Wikileak a day keeps tyranny away” was the phrase written on the sign he was holding.
Anyone all over the world who, working in companies and governments, sees wrongdoing and crime can disclose this to WikiLeaks and publish this information to the world, this is what democracy needs, you need the information flow, because if you don’t let it know what’s going on, you can be enslaved. But the people in there, they have their own interest, which protects their own power. They outweigh their interest to the public.
London mourned today for an Australian publisher who is jailed for revealing war crimes, while the war criminals he unmasked are free. And activists who have been fighting for the past few years are making it clear that they will not stop. The battle for political prisoner Julian Assange is probably just beginning.
Sara Chessa is a UK-based freelance journalist. You can follow Sara on Twitter @ sarachessa1.
Support independent journalism Subscribe to IA.