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 today 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 concrete 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”.
British justice blocked his extradition last January, noting that for Assange there is a risk of suicide, although he is still being held in a maximum security prison. The founder of Wikileaks has lived in segregation for almost a decade, if you also take into account the time spent as a refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The United States, which appealed against the decision, began today to present its arguments before the court, arguing that the report presented by Assange’s defense is not based on his current state of health, but on how this could evolve. American-side lawyers have also questioned the reports Assange’s defense team might present. “We need to be cautious and vigilant,” lawyer Clair Dobbin said, according to the Bloomberg news agency.
Amnesty International asked US President Joe Biden to “do the right thing” and drop the charges against Assange, while the companion of the founder of Wikileaks, Stella Moris, argued that the US government is trying to take advantage of an “unfair” extradition agreement. According to Moris, “an innocent man is being held accused of practicing journalism”, reports the dpa agency.
In this regard, Moris regretted that Assange has been behind bars for seven months, after the suspension of the extradition: “Every day that this colossal injustice continues, the situation of Julian desperately worsens,” he said upon his arrival in court. Assange supporters also expressed similar arguments yesterday. Among them is former Labor leader bJeremy Corbyn, who expects “a very clear signal” from British justice and that Assange will be free again.
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.