Monday, January 4th, 2021
Judgment in London
Assange may not be delivered to the USA
The last judgment has probably not yet been pronounced. But after the decision of a British court, Wikileaks founder Assange can take a deep breath. The arrested Australian will not be extradited to the United States. There he faces up to 175 years imprisonment.
A court in London has rejected the US extradition request for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The 49-year-old would have threatened up to 175 years imprisonment in America if convicted. The judge based her decision on Assange’s mental health and the conditions of detention that would await him in the United States. It is to be expected that he will commit suicide in solitary confinement. Supporters of Julian Assange cheered enthusiastically in front of the courthouse in London when they learned of the verdict, as a reporter from the German Press Agency observed. Dozens had called for “freedom for Julian Assange” in chants. The judge said that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will be released on bail this Wednesday in London.
The US judiciary is accusing the native Australian Assange of stealing and publishing secret material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan together with whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The 49-year-old put the lives of US informants at risk, the allegation. His supporters, however, see him as an investigative journalist who has brought war crimes to light.
The legal dispute is likely to continue in the UK for the time being, as the decision can be appealed. After a further instance, the proceedings could go to the British Supreme Court and finally deal with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Human rights activists, politicians and organizations such as Reporters Without Borders had previously warned that Assange would not get a fair trial in the US.
Reporters Without Borders demand release
The Wikileaks founder had been in the maximum security prison Belmarsh in the southeast of the British capital for around a year and a half. In view of the corona pandemic, he was only allowed to receive a very limited number of visitors, and phone calls outside were not unlimited. Because of a corona outbreak in prison, an entire block was temporarily quarantined. Family members have long been concerned about Assange’s mental and health condition.
There are also numerous voices in Germany who stand up for Assange. The organization Reporters Without Borders demands the immediate release of the Wikileaks founder. “The US indictment against Julian Assange is clearly politically motivated,” said managing director Christian Mihr on Friday. “The US wants to set an example and have a deterrent effect on media workers all over the world.” “If the US is successful with its extradition request and brings Assange to justice, the same fate threatens every journalist worldwide who publish classified information of public interest,” said Mihr. “This is where the future of journalism and press freedom around the world is at stake.”