It’s time for a British court ruling on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, with the long-awaited court ruling ruling on whether the 49-year-old will be extradited to the United States, where he is accused of “espionage” for revealing more than 700,000 US documents. .
If Assange is extradited and put on trial, he faces up to 175 years in prison in that country.
U.S. authorities have filed a 18-count case of “conspiracy” against Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. military analyst, for allegedly hacking into U.S. government computers and violating U.S. state privacy laws.
Whichever side loses is expected to appeal and the case is likely to end up in the UK Supreme Court, which means that its final outcome will be delayed.
U.S. prosecutors have described Assange as a “dangerous enemy,” whose actions endangered the lives of soldiers, diplomats and agents whose names appear in documents leaked by WikiLeaks.
Proponents of his case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.
Assange’s defense team said in a written statement to Vanessa Barreicher that the prosecution’s prosecution was politically motivated and that it had taken place during a “unique” period in US history, in the days of the Republican president. Donald Trump.
The group of lawyers representing the US government rejected this argument, emphasizing that federal prosecutors are by definition prohibited from taking political positions in the performance of their duties.
In 2010, WikiLeaks released video from the camera of a US Apache helicopter as it flew over Baghdad, when it opened fire, killing more than a dozen people, including two Reuters employees. He then released hundreds of thousands of classified documents and diplomatic telegrams from the US military and US diplomacy.
Assange’s legal problems began when Sweden requested his extradition, following allegations of sexual offenses. Fearing that Stockholm had the ultimate goal of extraditing him to the United States, he turned to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he remained for seven years.
When, after the change of government in Ecuador, the political asylum granted to him was revoked and the British police dragged him out of the embassy, in April 2019, he was imprisoned for violating the terms of his temporary release, although in Sweden the case was closed. in 2017. In June of the same year, the US Department of Justice formally requested his extradition.
It remains to be seen what the attitude of the Democratic government of Joe Biden will be towards the founder of WikiLeaks. In the days of Barack Obama, American justice had avoided prosecuting Assange. However, ten years ago, the person who will take over the presidency of the United States on January 20 called him a “high-tech terrorist”.
The conditions of Julian Assange’s detention were denounced by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Niels Melzer. In an open letter to Donald Trump on December 22, Niels Melzer called on the US president to thank the founder of WikiLeaks, stressing that “he is not an enemy of the American people.”