The United States tries again to obtain the extradition of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks

the essential The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange has been locked up for almost 9 years in the United Kingdom, prosecuted for a massive leak of documents. The United States is calling for his extradition. British justice will look into this issue on Wednesday.

After a first failure, the United States returned to the charge this Wednesday 27 before the British courts to obtain the extradition of the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange, whom they are suing for a massive document leak. After seven years in seclusion at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and two and a half years in Belmarsh High Security Prison, the Australian of 27 years, seen by his supporters as a victim of attacks on free speech, took a major step towards freedom last January. British judge Vanessa Baraitser then rejected the American request for extradition because of the risk of suicide of Julian Assange, who risks 175 years in prison in the United States. United. But Washington was able to appeal this decision, calling into question the reliability of an expert who had testified in its favor.

The psychiatrist, Michael Kopelman, had indeed admitted to having deceived justice by “concealing” the fact that his client had become a father while he was confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

This appeal, which is to take place over two days in the High Court, constitutes one of the last recourse for Washington, which, in case of further defeat, would only have the possibility of appealing to the British Supreme Court, without being assured that it would be granted. In the event of victory, that would not be the end of the case, which would then be referred to a court to rule on the merits.

” Ailing”

Julian Assange, supported by a number of press freedom organizations, is being prosecuted for disseminating, from 2010, more than 700 000 classified documents on American military and diplomatic activities, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was arrested by British police in April 2019 after spending seven years in recluse at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had taken refuge while he was out on bail. He feared extradition to the United States or Sweden, where he faced rape charges that have since been dropped.

According to his companion Stella Moris, who visited him in prison on Saturday, Julian Assange is “in very bad shape”. “Julian would not survive extradition, that’s the judge’s conclusion” in January, she said on Monday. “Julian wants to be able to return to Australia and see his family, his mother whom he has not seen for eight years”, she explained, while acknowledging that it would be difficult because “Australia has nothing made to ensure its safety “. For WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, it would be “unthinkable” for the High Court in London to come to any conclusion other than confirmation “of the refusal to hand Assange over to Washington.

“Permanent threat”

On Saturday, hundreds of demonstrators – carrying signs “Do not extradite Assange”, “Journalism is not a crime” or “000 years, that’s enough, free Assange now! ” – gathered in front of the High Court of London, alongside Stella Moris, to demand her release. Several organizations for the defense of human rights and press freedom – including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders -, “deeply concerned”, asked in an open letter in mid-October to the American Attorney General to abandon his lawsuits.

Julian Assange is under prosecution under President Donald Trump. Under his predecessor Barack Obama, who had Joe Biden for vice-president, American justice had given up on prosecuting the founder of WikiLeaks . But the election of Joe Biden to the White House did not bring the inflection hoped for by the supporters of Julian Assange. Reporters Without Borders director of international campaigns, Rebecca Vincent, said the Democratic president had missed the opportunity to “distance himself from his predecessors”. “The United States seems determined to continue on this path but it is not inevitable,” she told reporters. “It must stop.”

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