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British government approves Assange’s extradition to the US

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. / photo: AFP | video:ep

The decision on the delivery of the founder of WikiLeaks now passes to the British Home Secretary

The Westminster Magistrates Court gave its approval on Wednesday the 20th to the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States and referred the case for the consideration of the head of the Ministry of the Interior, Piti Patel. The defense now has until May 18 to present arguments to the minister against the delivery of the WikiLeaks founder, who attended the court hearing by video connection from the maximum security prison in Belmarsh, southeast of London.

Assange spoke to confirm his name and date of birth and indicated to the judge, Paul Goldspring, that he understood how the brief hearing was progressing. She was wearing a suit and tie and kept her head down during the magistrate’s intervention. “It is my duty to send the case to the Minister of the Interior so that she can decide if you should be extradited,” Goldspring informed him, who has taken the reins of the final phase of the trial in the first instance, which was previously chaired by his colleague Vanessa Baraitser.

In turn, Mark Summers, a lawyer for the Australian journalist and computer scientist, announced that his client will send the minister “serious allegations” about the court ruling in favor of deportation. The Supreme Court refused to review the verdict of the appeal court, which accepted the good faith of some diplomatic guarantees offered by Washington regarding the prison system and the medical care that Assange would receive under her tutelage. The judges of the High Court thus reversed the ruling of Judge Baraitser, who blocked her extradition in January 2021 based on the high risk that the defendant commits suicide in the harsh US prison system.

The US justice claims Assange in relation to obtaining and publishing confidential reports on the wars in Iran and Afghanistan, diplomatic cables and other official documents. “The information published by WikiLeaks revealed very serious war crimes that govern an obligation on the part of the entire international community in their persecution,” Aitor Martínez, a member of the international legal team of the former director of the pioneering information platform, told this medium. For his part, his family has confirmed that “the fight does not end today, it is only the beginning of a new legal battle.”

Assange is charged with one count of computer interference and seventeen more for accessing and disseminating secret documents in violation of the Espionage Law of 1917. “The work of journalism itself is being criminalized,” protests the lawyer from the ILocad office, after underlining the “disproportionality” of the potential sentence of up to 175 years in prison that awaits the Australian if he is deported from the United Kingdom and tried in the United States.

The ministerial green light for extradition will prompt a new legal action by Assange’s team. The “counter-appeal” procedure of the arguments rejected in the original sentence would then begin. The then Westminster magistrate denied the extradition due to the mental health of the defendant and the prison conditions in the US, but rejected the arguments about the political nature of the procedure and issues of freedom of the press, among other elements that the defense will recover if Patel authorizes the extradition. delivery.

“There are still many instances of this extradition process and we hope that the British and eventually European justice will stop this legal attack once and for all,” explains the Spanish lawyer. Meanwhile, and except for unforeseen decisions, the founder of WikiLeaks, 50 years old and newly married to Stella Moris, a lawyer and mother of his two young children, will remain in preventive detention in the so-called English Guantanamo.

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