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Extradition of Assange: the United States refutes “political” prosecutions

U.S. government officials urged Wednesday British justice à reject a final attempt by Julian Assange to appeal his extradition to the United States, refuting having launched an action against him. "political" prosecutions against the founder of WikiLeaks.

American justice is prosecuting Julian Assange for having published since 2010 more than 700,000 confidential documents on American military and diplomatic activities, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After several setbacks, the 52-year-old Australian's lawyers have been trying since Tuesday, in a final attempt, to convince the two judges of the High Court in London that these proceedings against him are “political”, and that an extradition would his health and even his life in danger.

The founder of WikiLeaks risks 175 years in prison in this case erected as a symbol of the threats weighing on press freedom.

Like the day before, Julian Assange, suffering according to his defense, was absent and did not appear by videoconference for the second and final day of hearing.

British justice must decide whether or not it grants the founder of WikiLeaks the right to appeal his extradition to the United States, accepted in June 2022 by the government British. A decision is unlikely for several weeks.

Lawyer Clair Dobbin, who represents the US government, said during the hearing that Mr. Assange had “published indiscriminately and knowingly the names of individuals who served as sources of information for the United States.”

“It is these facts that distinguish him (other media), and not his political opinions”, she argued.

– “Denial of justice” –

The day before, Julian Assange's lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, had denounced him for “political” prosecutions after the revelation of facts of “serious state crime”.

In recent weeks, his relatives have warned of the deterioration in the state of health of Mr. Assange, detained for five years in the high security Belmarsh prison in London, after having spent seven years taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy. .

His defense also highlights a risk of suicide in the event of extradition.

In case of refusal of this appeal by the British justice system, his relatives will try to refer the matter to the European Court of Human Rights, but they fear that Mr. Assange will be handed over quickly to the United States.

The WikiLeaks founder was arrested by British police in 2019 after spending seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, to avoid extradition to Sweden in a rape investigation, which was dismissed in 2019.

Like the day before, dozens of demonstrators gathered in the rain in front of the High Court in London to give him their support, after rallies organized Tuesday evening in France.

Extradition of Assange: the United States refutes “political” prosecutions

Julian Assange's wife and lawyer, Stella Assange (c) speaks to the press, in London, February 21, 2024 © AFP – Daniel LEAL

The Australian is being prosecuted for “ordinary journalistic practices” consisting of “obtaining and publishing information”, his lawyer argued on Tuesday. His client faces a disproportionate sentence in the United States and “there is a real risk that he will suffer a flagrant denial of justice”, he added.

Many voices have urged US President Joe Biden to drop the 18 charges facing Mr. Assange in a Virginia federal court, filed during the mandate of his predecessor Donald Trump in the name of the 1917 Protection Act. espionage.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116