Home News Julian Assange: UK decide blocks extradition of Wikileaks founder to US

Julian Assange: UK decide blocks extradition of Wikileaks founder to US


WikiLeaks" founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Britain January 13, 2020

picture copyrightReuters

picture captionAssange pictured leaving courtroom in January a 12 months in the past

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange can’t be extradited to the USA, a courtroom in London has dominated.

The decide blocked the request due to considerations over Mr Assange’s psychological well being and threat of suicide within the US.

Mr Assange, who is needed over the publication of 1000’s of labeled paperwork in 2010 and 2011, says the case is politically motivated.

Expressing disappointment on the ruling, the US justice division famous that its authorized arguments had prevailed.

  • Profile: Julian Assange

  • How the UK decides whether to extradite Assange

Its place is that the leaks broke the regulation and endangered lives.

“Whereas we’re extraordinarily disenchanted within the courtroom’s final choice, we’re gratified that the USA prevailed on each level of regulation raised,” the justice division mentioned.

The US authorities have 14 days by which to lodge an attraction and are anticipated to take action.

picture copyrightPA Media
picture captionMr Assange appeared on the Previous Bailey on Monday

Mr Assange will now be taken again to Belmarsh Jail – the place he’s being held – and a full software for his bail will probably be made on Wednesday.

His lawyer Ed Fitzgerald QC advised the courtroom there can be proof to point out Mr Assange wouldn’t abscond.

What did the decide say?

District Choose Vanessa Baraitser dominated that whereas US prosecutors had met the exams for Mr Assange to be extradited for trial, the US was incapable of stopping him from making an attempt to take his personal life.

Outlining proof of his self-harm and suicidal ideas, she mentioned: “The general impression is of a depressed and typically despairing man fearful for his future.”

She mentioned: “Confronted with the circumstances of close to complete isolation with out the protecting components which restricted his threat at HMP Belmarsh, I’m happy the procedures described by the US is not going to forestall Mr Assange from discovering a technique to commit suicide and for that reason I’ve determined extradition can be oppressive by motive of psychological hurt and I order his discharge.”

picture copyrightPA Media
picture captionMr Assange’s companion, lawyer Stella Moris, mentioned “as we speak’s victory is a primary step in direction of justice”

Mr Assange, who wore a blue swimsuit and inexperienced face masks within the dock, closed his eyes because the decide learn out her ruling on Monday.

His fiancee Stella Moris, with whom he has two younger sons, wept and was comforted by Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, who sat subsequent to her in courtroom.

Talking exterior courtroom after the ruling, she known as on the US president to “finish this now”.

“Mr President, tear down these jail partitions,” she mentioned. “Let our little boys have their father. Free Julian, free the press, free us all.”

media captionJulian Assange’s fiancée says she dreaded going public with their relationship

District Choose Vanessa Baraitser explicitly concluded that Mr Assange ought to reply allegations that he aided and abetted hacking, theft and the disclosure of the identities of informants working for the US safety companies – disclosures that endangered their lives.

In English regulation, that will be sufficient for him to be charged with a criminal offense right here – and so the route was open for Mr Assange to face trial for a similar in the USA.

However British extradition regulation additionally requires a decide to contemplate Mr Assange’s well being.

And it is the impact of his doable detention in near-solitary confinement in a “supermax” jail that proved decisive.

The US, within the decide’s conclusion, cannot cease a mentally unwell man taking his personal life in these circumstances.

And so the authorized requirement to deal with Mr Assange humanely trumps the seriousness of the case that the decide acknowledges he ought to reply.

When the US appeals – it’s going to must persuade extra senior judges in any other case.

What would Assange face within the US?

If convicted within the US, Mr Assange faces a doable penalty of as much as 175 years in jail, his legal professionals have mentioned. Nevertheless the US authorities mentioned the sentence was extra prone to be between 4 and 6 years.

Mr Assange faces an 18-count indictment from the US authorities, accusing him of conspiring to hack into US army databases to amass delicate secret data referring to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, which was then revealed on the Wikileaks web site.

He says the knowledge uncovered abuses by the US army.

However US prosecutors say the leaks of labeled materials endangered lives, and so the US sought his extradition from the UK.

Extradition is the method beneath which one nation can ask one other at hand over a suspect to face trial.

What response has there been?

Following the judgement, a number of politicians and organisations welcomed the information, though some expressed dismay that the ruling was made on well being grounds:

  • Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador mentioned he had instructed his overseas minister to supply political asylum to Mr Assange who “is a journalist and deserves an opportunity”
  • “Excellent news Julian Assange’s extradition has been blocked,” mentioned UK Conservative MP David Davis on Twitter. “Extradition treaties shouldn’t be used for political prosecutions”
  • Former UK Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn called it “excellent news” however mentioned it was “alarming that the decide has accepted US authorities arguments threatening freedom of speech and freedom to publish”
picture copyrightEPA
picture captionSupporters of Mr Assange gathered exterior the Previous Bailey on Monday
  • Amnesty Worldwide welcomed the ruling however criticised the UK for “having engaged on this politically-motivated course of on the behest of the USA and placing media freedom and freedom of expression on trial”
  • The pinnacle of the Nationwide Union of Journalists, Michelle Stanistreet, mentioned the end result was “the appropriate one” however the judgment contained “a lot that’s troubling”
  • Journalist and documentary maker John Pilger, who has been a vocal campaigner for Mr Assange, tweeted that it was “fantastic”, including the UK ruling was a “face-saving cowl for the British to justify their disgraceful political trial of Assange on America’s behalf”
media captionJulian Assange’s father fears ‘nervous’ son’s extradition

Mr Assange was jailed for 50 weeks in Could 2019 for breaching his bail circumstances after going into hiding within the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

He sought refuge within the embassy for seven years from 2012 till he was arrested in April 2019.

On the time he fled to the embassy, he had been dealing with extradition to Sweden on allegations of sexual assault which he denied. That case was later dropped.

media captionWho’s Julian Assange?

Associated Subjects

  • Extradition

  • Wikileaks
  • United States
  • Julian Assange