LONDON – A high court judge has ruled today that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited for trial in the United States due to risk of suicide. The US have said they plan to appeal the UK decision.
British District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled that extradition would be “oppressive” due to Assange’s current state of physical and mental health, thus rejecting the US request for Assange to face espionage charges.
In the meantime, Assange is still being held in custody.
Assange’s legal defense team has asked that he be immediately released from London’s Belmarsh prison where he’s been held as an unconvicted prisoner now for over a year-and-a-half.
Julian #Assange has been discharged by the judge at the Old Bailey on grounds that he was too great a suicide risk if extradited to the US. This is wonderful! It’s a face-saving cover for the British to justify their disgraceful political trial of #Assange on America’s behalf.
— John Pilger (@johnpilger) January 4, 2021
The judge confirmed on record that Assange is “a depressed and sometimes despairing man” who has the “intellect and determination” to avert any suicide prevention measures put in place by prison authorities.
U.S. government officials have vowed to to appeal the British court decision in hopes of extraditing Assange to face trial this year.
See the initial reaction from supporters and free outside London’s Old Bailey court house this morning (Video Credit: @LetMeLookTV)
However, Judge Vanessa Baraitser appeared to endorse many of the US prosecution’s spurious theories about the case, as she claimed that Assange’s actions – if proven – would somehow “amount to offenses in this jurisdiction that would not be protected by his right to freedom of speech.”
U.S. Department of Justice had previously indicted Assange on 17 ‘espionage’ charges and one charge of “computer misuse” in relation to WikiLeaks’ publication over a decade ago. of leaked military and diplomatic documents regarding the illegal Iraq and Afghanistan wars, carrying a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
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Author: NEWS WIRE