“Abortion of Justice”: UK Court agrees to US appeal to extradite Assange

Photo: PA Wire

The UK's High Court of Justice today upheld US prosecutors' appeal against a previous ruling that barred WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from being extradited to the US.

The judgment, which Stella Moris, Assange's life partner, has called an "abortion of justice," means that Assange will stay in the highest security prison of Belmarsh until the conclusion of a new appeal that his defense attorneys will bring to the British Supreme Court shortly.

Outside the court, John Rees, the director of the Campaign Against Assange's Extradition, informed the press that his attorneys will push for his release on bond so that he may at least attend the rest of the trial in peace.

The WikiLeaks founder has been in custody since the Ecuadorian government handed him over to British authorities in April 2019. He was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for violating a bail order issued seven years ago, but British courts decided that he should remain in custody until the extradition process is completed after he served his sentence.

The US is seeking Assange's extradition for exposing data on WikiLeaks that reveal US military war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as hundreds of cables including US diplomatic secrets.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected the extradition in January after mental specialists testified in court that the 50-year-old cyber-activist may commit suicide in a US prison.
The ruling was challenged by US prosecutors, who promised the High Court at an appeal hearing last October that Assange would not be subjected to any harsh jail conditions if prosecuted and convicted in the US, something Moris said they would never do.

Judges returned the case to the trial court after declaring their approval of the US prosecutor's appeal, with the directive that Judge Baraitser transmit the matter to Interior Minister Priti Patel, who would have the last say in the extradition case.

The Supreme Court of Justice of the United Kingdom, on the other hand, has the authority to accept or reject appeals.

If the extradition request is granted, Assange could face a total term of 175 years in jail if he is found guilty of 17 felony counts stemming from "alleged" violations of US espionage law.

Publish : 2021-12-11 09:58:00

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