UK High Court has granted US authorities permission to broaden grounds for appeal against previous UK court decision
The United States wins the first round in the appeal process against the decision of the British judiciary not to grant the extradition of Julian Assange, accused of espionage. The judges of the High Court have in fact recognized the American government to broaden the arguments with which to appeal the decision of the district judge Vanessa Baraitser not to grant the extradition, citing the real risk of suicide for the founder of Wikileaks.
Now US government lawyers will be able, when the actual appeal hearings take place next October, to challenge the use of a psychiatric report that would have “misled” the court that denied extradition last January. Lord Justice Holryode ruled in favor of the US request, stating that the new appeal arguments presented – in addition to the three already admitted – are “at least worth discussing”. Dozens of people demonstrated in front of the Royal Courts of Justice today, including Stella Morris, Assange’s partner, and also former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The decision, which Assange’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, had opposed, came at the end of a hearing in which the parties returned to battle: on the one hand the defense of the Australian activist, on the other the legal team of the American government. Dobbin accused on behalf of the latter British first instance judge Vanessa Baraister of having been “sidetracked” by the expertise of a single expert in the decision to deny extradition on the basis of the mental health conditions attributed to the former red primrose of WikiLeaks and the alleged risk of suicide in the face of the predictable trial and prison treatment that awaits him on the other side of the ocean. While Fitzgerald defended the first instance sentence as legally founded. The appellate judges eventually espoused Dobbin’s motives, accepting the contention that the expert in question, psychiatrist Michael Kopelman, may not be credible having hidden from the Baraister for confidentiality reasons the fact that Assange had two children with the ‘South African lawyer Stella Morris during the approximately 7 years of asylum spent in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Pursued by Washington since a decade ago WikiLeaks managed to intercept and disseminate through the media a mountain of American files containing, among other things, evidence of war crimes committed in Afghanistan and Iraq, Julian Assange was also recently hit. from the accusation of espionage overseas: never before contested in events involving journalistic publication of confidential documents. If handed over to the American authorities, he would be destined with almost absolute certainty to be locked up in prison until the end of his days. In his defense even today a group of supporters, including comrade Stella Morris, who yesterday addressed yet another appeal to the President Joe Biden to withdraw the extradition request; and former British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn. Morris said Assange “is an innocent man persecuted for practicing investigative journalism”. Corbyn for his part denounced “the American obsession with those who reveal inconvenient truths” about Washington’s military interventions in the world, calling for his release and the imprisonment rather “of war criminals”.