On 27 and 28 October 2021, the next step in the odyssey in the appeal proceedings for the extradition of Julian Assange to the USA took place at the London High Court.1 Numerous supporters were (again) on site demanding his immediate release.
This time, the USA accused the British judiciary of making false assumptions about Assange's state of health when making the decision. In January 2021, district Judge Vanessa Baraitser had refused the American request to extradite Assange on the grounds that his mental health was affected and that the detention conditions awaiting him in the US were unacceptable.
The US lawyer, James Lewis, has now argued that Assange had good reason to exaggerate his symptoms. The US had also promised not to use “special methods” in the event of extradition to the US and Assange, who is an Australian citizen, if convicted would be allowed to serve his sentence in an Australian prison.
Julian Assange's lawyer claimed the CIA’s recently published attack plans by Yahoo2 against him: “There has been talk of killing, kidnapping or poisoning Mr Assange.”
The court decision is expected in the coming weeks. This can then be appealed again. If extradited, Assange faces 175 years in prison under the US Espionage Act of 1917 which has been dug up again.
Many people around the world have been campaigning for Julian Assange for years. Considering all the history since the US war crimes were made public by WikiLeaks, it is like a nightmare. As recently as 2010, the mainstream media had pounced on the publications of the documents on war crimes in Iraq (Collateral Murder) and Afghanistan (Afghan War Diary); soon after, the hunt for Julian Assange began: Escape to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, constant secret surveillance by the CIA, his abduction from the embassy in 2019, solitary confinement, psychological torture, rape allegations (withdrawn), the perjury of an Icelandic “witness” (instrumentalised by the FBI) and much more. Politicians, intellectuals, public figures, international lawyers, human rights organisations, media representatives worldwide, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Assange’s family members – they are all campaigning for his release – and more are joining …
One of them is the Swiss Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and professor of international law. Recently, at a lecture3 at the University of Zurich, he stated that the entire approach in these proceedings was grotesque. All this was happening in constitutional democracies and not in authoritarian systems. The integrity of our constitutional system was at risk. He also pointed out that since 2010, the discussion had increasingly focused on the person of Julian Assange and no longer on the actual facts of the case, the exposed war crimes and their prosecution under the rule of law.
“This whole case, really from a legal perspective, doesn’t have a valid basis”, Nils Melzer summed up in an in-depth interview with Randy Credico “Live-on-the-Fly” from 10 October 2021.4 In this interview Melzer finds clear words: “Every single time when they are supposed to actually bring the evidence, they start moving the goalposts and manipulating the procedures and the evidence. […] That is a typical pattern of show trials where you are basically abusing the legal system for the purposes of persecution.” The Yahoo News report: “clearly proves that this is a bad faith proceeding against Assange. That this is not about the law. It is about intimidating journalism. It is about suppressing press freedom. It is about protecting impunity for state officials.” And, concluding the most important thing of the Yahoo report, “those governments that are after Julian Assange, the methods that they are considering, that they are employing, disprove any notion of a good faith effort to enforce the law. It is clear proof and evidence that this proceeding against Julian Assange is illegal. It pursues an illegal purpose of intimidating journalism. It employs illegal means, and therefore it is not sustainable under the rule of law. [...] The question really is not whether Julian Assange is a perfect person or whether he has made mistakes or not. The question really is how do the states behave? That is why this case is so important. It concerns all of us. If our authorities are allowed to kill and kidnap and torture people, and invade other countries without a legal basis, without being subject to accountability under the rule of law, then we have crossed the line into a form of government that is no longer anything to do with democracy.” •
1 Current Concerns has repeatedly reported.
2 “Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA’s secret war plans against WikiLeaks” In: Yahoo News of 26 September 2021
4 Nils Melzer interviewed by Randy Credico at “Live on the Fly”; https://consortiumnews.com/2021/10/10/randy-credico-interviews-nils-melzer-on-julian-assange/
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