Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled on January 4 that Assange – an Australian citizen who is charged with espionage for publishing leaked classified documents – could not be extradited to the US, citing mental health concerns and the high risk that the American justice system could not prevent his possible suicide behind bars.
In a statement on Friday, Assange’s fiancé Stella Morris explained that the US government “will re-run arguments that have already been settled by two previous judges, including a very senior High Court judge” and that “it seems unlikely that the judges on Wednesday will reach a different conclusion.”
“Wednesday’s hearing is therefore particularly vexatious,” she said, claiming that the “ultimate strategy by the US government is to try to get the court to dismiss important evidence” about Assange’s mental health and “game the British legal system.”
Assange’s supporters, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, gathered outside court ahead of the hearing on Wednesday morning.
Mr Corbyn described Assange as a reporter “in the tradition of fearless journalism” and insisted the only thing he had done through his work was to highlight “a truth that was embarrassing to the US”.
Free Julian AssangeJeremy Corbyn
He was applauded by protesters who shouted “Free Julian Assange” and “jail the war criminals” as uniformed police looked on.
Amnesty International calls on Biden to drop ‘politically-motivated’ charges against Julian Assange
Ahead of the preliminary appeal hearing in London’s High Court today on the decision not to extradite Julian Assange to the US, Amnesty International has renewed its call on US authorities to drop the charges against him. The organisation’s Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks, said:
“This attempt by the US government to get the court to reverse its decision not to allow Julian Assange’s extradition on the basis of new diplomatic assurances is a blatant legal sleight of hand. Given that the US government has reserved the right to keep Julian Assange in a maximum security facility and subject him to Special Administrative Measures, these assurances are inherently unreliable.
Muižnieks called on the court to dismiss the US government’s appeal and also called on Biden to “drop these politically-motivated charges which have put media freedom and freedom of expression in the dock.”
Obama opened the investigation into Julian Assange. Trump brought the charges against him. It is now time for President Biden to do the right thing and end this farcical prosecutionNils Muižnieks, Amnesty International
Highlighting how former President Barack Obama opened the government’s investigation into Assange, and how former President Donald Trump subsequently decided to bring charges against the WikiLeaks founder, Muižnieks urged Biden to finally “do the right thing and end this farcical prosecution which should never have been brought in the first place.”