The United States has won this Friday the appeal before the London Court of Appeal against a ruling last January that had denied the extradition of the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, to that country for risk to his health and life.
The judges of this court have concluded that the US government has offered sufficient guarantees that Assange will receive adequate treatment to protect his mental health and have ruled that he can be extradited.RELATED
The judge in the case, Timothy Holroyde, has indicated in court that Assange seeks to present a new appeal to this latest decision. “We will appeal the decision as soon as possible,” said Stella Moris, Assange’s partner. “How can it be fair, correct and possible to extradite Julian to the same country that conspired to kill him?”
The US has assured the court that, if extradited, Assange will not be placed in solitary confinement and will not be sent to the maximum security prison in Florence (Colorado). The Washington representatives also assured that would allow him to serve his sentence in Australia.
“There is no reason why this court should not accept the guarantees. There is no basis to presume that the US has not given these guarantees in good faith,” the judges say in the ruling.
The Director of Amnesty International, Agnès Callamard, has criticized the guarantees offered by the US, stating that “they are discredited by their admission that they reserve the right to reverse said guarantees.” “Reports that the CIA considered kidnapping or killing Assange raise even more questions about the reliability of those promises,” he said. Last September, information was published that assured that the CIA studied kidnapping or killing Julian Assange.
The United States accuses Assange of having violated its Espionage Law for having leaked and published diplomatic and military secrets in 2010 through Wikileaks. Specifically, he is accused of 18 charges related to the Espionage Law and one for fraud and computer abuse, which could reach 175 years in prison.
His defense alleges that his role was equivalent to that of a journalist and any limit placed on his action could have an impact on any American journalist. “This case is outrageous and he is clearly politically motivated to use Assange as an example. It is the future of journalism and press freedom that is at stake,” said Rebecca Vincent, international campaigns director for Reporters Without Borders.
Assange was arrested in April 2019 by British agents who broke into the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Ecuador granted him asylum in 2012 and since then Assange has lived in the embassy. Hours before his arrest, the president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, announced on Twitter the withdrawal of diplomatic asylum, considering it “unsustainable.” The arrest came at the request of the United States.
In 2010, the Swedish Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered the arrest of Assange, accused of rape and sexual abuse, and Sweden issued a European arrest warrant. The United Kingdom agreed to extradite him and Assange then requested asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy. Assange said that this process was an excuse for his extradition to the US, where he could be tried for the massive leak of secret documents in 2010 through Wikileaks. Sweden finally shelved the case in November 2019
The UN special rapporteur for torture cases, Nils Meizer, assured in an interview published in elDiario.es that Assange did not try at any time to flee from Swedish justice. “Four democratic countries joined forces [Estados Unidos, Ecuador, Suecia y el Reino Unido] to harness his power and portray a man as a monster so that he could later be burned at the stake without anyone protesting. “