Since 11 April 2019, Julian Assange has been held in London’s high security Belmarsh prison. Primarily because he violated British bail terms by fleeing to the embassy.
He is currently still being held exclusively in relation to the pending extradition request from the USA. This after nine years of persecution, because he dared to reveal war crimes of the USA. Julian Assange was arrested seven months ago at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge seven years ago. Assange is facing the extradition request by the US over charges he violated the US Espionage Act by publishing a huge cache of military and diplomatic files on war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.
If extradited to the USA, he could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted (see Current Concerns No 12 of 31 May, No. 13 of 12 June, No 14 of 25 June and No 15 of 11 July 2019).
On 21 October 2019, a public hearing was held at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London. Significantly. Clearly marked by the miserable prison conditions, Julian Assange appeared before the court. He had requested a postponement of the extradition hearing, but the court had refused. The main hearing in the extradition proceedings will take place end of February next year.
Assange and his defending lawyers had taken more time to prepare the trial. Judge Vanessa Baraitser allowed them just two months. The judge will decide in the main trial whether Assange will be extradited to the USA. For those who want to get an impression of the scandalous course of the hearing on 21 October, we recommend the shocking reports of two prominent observers from the courtroom (John Pilger https://consortiumnews.com/2019/10/25/john-pilger-did-this-happen-in-the-home-of-the-magna-carta/ and Craig Murray https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/10/assange-in-court/).
Meanwhile Sweden dropped investigation into sexual assault allegations against Julian Assange. More than 60 doctors from around the world wrote an open letter to the U.K. home secretary warning that Julian Assange “could die in prison”. (https://consortiumnews.com/2019/11/23/doctors-petition-uk-home-secretary-over-julian-assange/)
In his statement (see below), the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, the Swiss Nils Melzer, once again calls on the international commune to stress the now life-threatening condition of Julian Assange. The report of the British journalist Sara Chessa (see below) describes the courageous action of the then Minister of the Interior of Iceland, Ögmundur Jónasson. Without further ado, he threw out the FBI agents who had come to the island in 2011 to frame Julian Assange. Kristinn Hrafnsson lives in Reykjavik. He was the spokesman for Wikileaks and is now its editor-in-chief. Jónasson is thus an example that even politicians have a lot on their hands if they feel committed to the protection of democracy and human rights, ethical acting and human dignity.
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Pro memoria February 2012: Publication of 5 million e-mails from the Texas “security company” Stratfor, a private secret service that works closely with US and Israeli services. In an e-mail Stratfor Vice President Fred Burton claims: “We have a ‘sealed complaint’ against Assange.” (Current Concerns No. 12 dated May 31, 2019)
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