Julian Assange Appeals Extradition Case, Carrying on UK Saga

The extradition case of Julian Assange is continuing. This after Assange appealed the extradition decision.

The US’s efforts to go after Julian Assange is still ongoing. In April of 2019, British authorities arrested Assange after the US scored a backroom deal with Ecuador. The moment marked the end of 7 years of being holed up in the embassy, evading American efforts to punish him for the crimes of journalism. From there, Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for skipping bail – a sentence widely considered excessive for such a low level crime. Some conclude that the sentence was handed down as political revenge for resisting the US.

What followed was a long an controversial extradition case. In some points, civil rights organizations were barred from the hearings. Organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation blasted the trial as “selective prosecution“. This after the US dropped all pretense and filed 17 charges of espionage. The EFF responded to that by pointing out that the US has officially broken the long-standing promise of never using espionage charges against journalists, putting a massive chill on journalism as a result.

By 2021, 22 human rights organizations called for the case to be dropped. Those calls, however, were rejected by the Biden administration who opted to continue where the Trump administration left off. Human rights organizations renewed their call for the case to be dropped despite iron fist response of the US government.

In March of this year, things started looking grim with the UK Supreme Court declining to hear Assange’s case. The moment was widely seen as a massive blow to journalism and freedom of expression. As a result, it was widely seen as inevitable that extradition would be approved.

Last month, those predictions came true with the UK government approving the extradition of Assange to the US. From Al Jazeera:

British Home Secretary Priti Patel has approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States to face criminal charges, bringing his longrunning legal saga closer to a conclusion.

Assange is wanted by US authorities on 18 counts, including a spying charge, relating to WikiLeaks’ release of vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables which Washington said had put lives in danger.

The Home Office said on Friday that his extradition had now been approved but he could still appeal the decision. WikiLeaks said he would.

“In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange,” the Home Office said in a statement.

“Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”

Many are pointing out that Assange is a dead man the moment he enters the US. So, it’s no surprise that this case is being fought as if his life depended on it. Recently, Assange’s legal team filed an appeal to the UK High Court. From the BBC:

The High Court in London confirmed to the BBC an application by Mr Assange has been submitted.

Mr Assange had until Friday to decide whether or not to appeal against his extradition.

The Australian is being held at Belmarsh prison in London after mounting a lengthy battle to avoid being extradited.

Extradition allows one country to ask another to hand over a suspect to face trial.

Previously, Mr Assange’s wife, Stella, said her husband had done “nothing wrong” and “he has committed no crime”.

“He is a journalist and a publisher, and he is being punished for doing his job”, she said.

So, we are roughly a decade into this legal saga, but at this point, we are now getting to the final stages of this case. The legal options are running low at this stage for both parties. It’s unclear how much longer it will take to settle this case. We’ll continue to follow this story and monitor for any further developments.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top