Julian Assange, the innocent journalist who recently had his 50th birthday while being locked up in a high security prison, is still fighting against being extradited to The United States. In that country he might face up to 175 years in prison.
The preliminary appeal hearing is set for August 11 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
The U.S. government set forth five lines of argument for its appeal of the extradition ruling, two were denied. It will be allowed to argue that the judge misapplied section 91 of the 2003 Extradition Act, which says someone can’t be extradited if the “physical or mental condition of the person is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him,” and that the judge should have notified the prosecution that she found extradition would be unjust or oppressive so that it could have provided “assurances to the Court” ahead of time.
Julian Assange’s fiancé Stella Moris explained what the U.S. government attempts:
Any losing party, the US in this case, is allowed to attempt to have different judges review the grounds that they have lost on. But the US government’s attack on Dr. Kopelman is particularly vexatious. The US government will try to re-run arguments that have already been settled by two different judges. It is the latest move by the US government to try to game the British legal system. The US government’s handling of the case exposes the underlying nature of the prosecution against Julian: subverting the rules so that Julian’s ability to defend himself is obstructed and undermined while he remains in prison for years and years, unconvicted, and held on spurious charges. The “process” is the punishment.
However much the prosecution plays to the gallery on August 11th in its efforts to attack the reputation of one of the most well-respected neuropsychiatrists in Britain, the real substance of the appeal will take place when the main appeal hearing will be heard in full later this year. But the scope of that hearing, three or five grounds, will be determined on the 11th of August.
He’s suffering. It’s a daily struggle, to wake up and not know when and how it’s going to end. Julian’s incredibly strong and draws strength from knowing that he’s on the right side of history, that he’s being punished for doing the right thing. He’s a fighter, but no person would remain unaffected by this progressive closing in on him, trying to break him in every respect.
January 4, 2021 – A British judge rejects a US request to extradite Assange to America, ruling that such a move would be “oppressive” by reason of his mental health.
January 6, 2021 – A British judge denies bail for Assange, ruling that “there are substantial grounds for believing that if Mr. Assange is released today he would fail to surrender to court and face the appeal proceedings.”
July 26, 2021 – The Judicial Branch of Ecuador rules in favor of revoking the citizenship of Assange. The court’s decision nullifies Assange’s status as a naturalized citizen of Ecuador, which was granted to him in 2017.
As always, activists are organizing protests to stand up for his rights and for press freedom in general:
Make sure you attend these events, because this case is obviously going to affect you too. Press freedom is a right we all have. And if we accept extradition to the United States for an independent journalist simply because he exposed their crimes, there is no way back.
This means we are all Assange now.
As defined by the Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights:
Free, independent and pluralistic media based on freedom of information and expression is a core element of any functioning democracy. Freedom of the media is in fact essential for the protection of all other human rights. Instances of torture, discrimination, corruption or misuse of power many times have come to light because of the work of investigative journalists. Making the facts known to the public is often the first, essential step to start redressing human rights violations and hold governments accountable.
Visit Candles4Assange on Twitter for the full list of global protests.
Follow the court case online? The team from Consortium News and Kevin Kgosztola will be live tweeting updates as they are watching the hearing.