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Respite for Wikileaks founder Assange

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange can stay in the United Kingdom for at least another two months

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Looking at the fervent and pitiless way of handling his case, concerns about Assange’s ability to express his views freely and possible sentenced to death in the US are absolutely serious.
Looking at the fervent and pitiless way of handling his case, concerns about Assange’s ability to express his views freely and possible sentenced to death in the US are absolutely serious.

N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange can stay in the United Kingdom for at least another two months. The British appeal judges who will decide on his extradition to the United States want guarantees from the US government. If they are not given, Assange’s appeal will be granted. The guarantees requested are that Assange will be allowed to testify on the basis of the US Constitution with rules that normally apply to US citizens. For example, it concerns freedom of expression. Assange is Australian. It should also be ensured that Assange cannot be sentenced to death.

It means yet another postponement in a saga that has been going on for more than ten years now surrounding whether or not to extradite Assange. The US has been hunting Assange for more than a decade. As the founder of Wikileaks, he is held responsible for the leak of hundreds of thousands of documents that caused a stir in 2010 and 2011. The documents showed, among other things, that Iraqi prisoners were tortured by US military.

Assange has been living in the UK since 2010. Initially he was to be extradited to Sweden where he was to stand trial on suspicion of rape. He opposed the deportation, saying he suspected it was just an excuse to extradite him from Sweden to the US. In mid-2012, Assange took shelter in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he enjoyed diplomatic protection. The Swedish charges expired in 2019. In the same year Ecuador decided to lift his diplomatic immunity and forced him to leave the embassy in London. Assange was immediately arrested and has since been held in the heavily guarded Belmarsh prison in London.

In 2022 it was determined that there were no objections to extradition. Several appeal judges have since considered the extradition. Now further guarantees are being requested from the US. Looking at the fervent and pitiless way of handling his case, concerns about Assange’s ability to express his views freely and possible sentenced to death in the US are absolutely serious. Don’t think a simple note from the US can allay these concerns.

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