A few weeks ago, during Julian Assange’s final extradition hearing, his attorney, Mark Summers, uttered some remarkable words: She had previously planned poisoning or murder by a government agency. “
Ironically on “Human Rights Day”, the judges in London complied with this request for assistance and overturned the first instance rejection of the US extradition request for the Wikileaks founder.
While Mark Summers’ remark in court seemed like the blackest of British humor, it is now all the more disturbing that a British court has actually overturned the decision not to extradite Julian Assange. After all, the United States government is known to have plotted assassination against Julian Assange with the help of the CIA.
The US prosecutor James Lewis had promised the British “diplomatic assurances”: If Assange were extradited, he would not be imprisoned in the notorious ADX Florence federal prison in Colorado, which is considered the prison with the highest security standards in the USA. Assange is also not subject to the strict regime of “Special Administrative Measures” (SAMs) – special measures in high-security prisons that can affect accommodation, communication and visits for convicted criminals. Against the backdrop of the CIA’s assassination plans, it sounded like mockery when Judge Timothy Holroyde announced this morning that “the court believes these representations” will serve to protect Assange’s physical and mental health.
The US victory is devastating
Today’s decision has shocked human rights organizations around the world, with PEN, Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International and many others again calling for his immediate release.
What happens now? As a result of today’s decision, the extradition request will be forwarded to the British Home Secretary Prita Patel, who will most likely approve the request again. Assange’s attorneys and his fiancée, Stella Morris, announced immediately that they would appeal the verdict. You have 14 days to do this.
Today’s US victory is devastating because it means that Assange’s freedom – if it comes at all – is further afield than ever: Assange will probably spend years, not months, of his life in the maximum security Belmarsh prison. And, mind you, without any legal basis: there is nothing against him in Great Britain. It is a never-ending nightmare in front of a public that has become blind to injustice beyond its own petty interests.
War criminals are free – Assange behind bars
The Assange case highlights the monstrous dysfunction of our human rights. As a reminder, Assange has not been a de facto free man for over eleven years because he exposed US war crimes and torture with Wikileaks. None of the American war criminals known to have tortured and murdered innocents, civilians and even children in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo have ever been held responsible for these crimes against humanity. You are all free. Assange will be held accountable for revealing the truth about these war criminals.
We all owe a lot to Assange. He is a visionary who has revolutionized modern journalism and, with Wikileaks, has created an institution that no one can get past: Assange was the first to recognize that the weak points of corrupt centers of power in the digital age are mass data leaks. Based on this knowledge, he invented a digital anonymous mailbox that enables whistleblowers to expose corrupt institutions. This system is now used by all major news organizations around the world.
Assange has uncovered more important stories in the past fifteen years than all the media around the world put together. What if he is persecuted not despite his groundbreaking journalism and visionary foresight, but precisely because of it? Either way, the lack of press support and public silence is staggering.
Does the traffic light have the courage to fight for Assange?
But every legal defeat of Assange in court is also our defeat. Every blow against Assange is a blow against our freedom of the press, our human rights and democracy itself. It’s like watching a fatal car accident in slow motion.
At least left-wing politician Sevim Dağdelen called on the new federal government to offer Assange asylum and declared: “The Julian Assange case is the first test of the credibility of the traffic light coalition, which has committed itself to a so-called value and human rights-based foreign policy. It is to be welcomed that the new Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck publicly advocated the release of Julian Assange a few months ago. The Federal Government must now jointly criticize the politically motivated decision of the London Court of Appeals in all clear terms and urge the British government to stop extradition.“ She also asked the new Secretary of State Annalena Baerbock to appeal to the US Secretary of State Blinken for the release of Assange. It would be welcomed if the new government had the courage to finally take up the Assange issue. Christian Lindner regularly calls for the release of Alexej Navalny. Would he dare to demand the same for Assange?
The fight is not over yet. Free Assange!