One last legal chance for Assange

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In September, the High Court in London makes a final decision on the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the US. His relatives are worried about his health.

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Julian Assange has been held at Belmars maximum security prison in London since 2019. The Victorian building is one of the toughest prisons in Great Britain. Julian Assange now has just one last chance to appeal to the High Court against his extradition order signed by Home Secretary Priti Patel last June.

A decision on whether he can appeal is expected next month. If the decision is negative, there will be a four-week period before he is forced to leave for the US.

Concerns about Assange’s health

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Assange’s wife Stella fears the worst if judges do not clear the way for her husband to face a new appeal. “Julian’s life depends on this extradition decision. Julian is clinically depressed. If he is extradited and placed in solitary confinement in the US, he will kill himself,” Stella Assange told DW.

John Shipton’s father and his brother Gabriel are also extremely worried. The family appealed to the new Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, to help save his countryman Julian Assange. During his election campaign, the Prime Minister had meaningfully declared “enough is enough”, meaning that the prosecution of the Wikileaks founder had to stop.

Still, nothing has progressed since he took office, Assange’s father and brother say. So far they have been unable to secure an appointment with Albanese, who recently said that such negotiations should be done quietly and diplomatically.

Controversial version

According to Assange’s lawyer and wife, the Supreme Court should now allow further legal remedies against the earlier court ruling. However, the main issue was the official interpretation of the extradition treaty between Great Britain and the US.

In the first instance, however, the judge took into account the prisoner’s state of health and ruled against the extradition. However, the senior judges did not consider these reasons decisive. According to Assange’s side, important aspects have been ignored. For example, Assange’s right to freedom of expression and journalistic privacy protections cannot prevent extradition. They also question whether the US has political reasons for seeking his extradition.

“Once we have exhausted domestic remedies we will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights,” says Stella Assange. But it is uncertain whether British judges will wait for his verdict. Also, the British government seems to no longer look favorably on the European Convention on Human Rights and is preparing a law to limit the rights of refugees and immigrants. For example the asylum procedure will not take place in the UK but in the place of citizenship.

Ultimately, however, this fight, as Assange’s supporters say, is not only about the life of the accused but also about the freedom of the press in Europe.

Barbara Wezel

Edited by: Maria Rigoutsou

Source: Deutsche Welle

Source: Capital

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