Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the US. The judgment on whether to extradite Assange was handed down on the morning of 4 January 2021.
Baraitser rejected the extradition request based on Assange’s risk of suicide, and conditions in the US prison system.
Assange, who revealed extensive evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses, is accused of violating the US Espionage Act on 17 counts and of one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime. The charges amount to a possible total of 175 years in prison.
In the words of journalist Kevin Gosztola, the charges against Assange “criminalize the act of merely receiving classified information, as well as the publication of state secrets of the US government, which is why the case is widely viewed as an attack on press freedom”.
During the proceedings, Baraitser heard that Assange should not be extradited due to the political nature of the prosecution; the damaging precedent that would be set; the risk of cruel and inhuman treatment in a US supermax prison; the prosecution’s misinterpretation of facts; and concerns over Assange’s health.
The US Department of Justice will now appeal the decision, which could drag out the legal process for many years to come.
Read this Twitter thread from the author for more information on what happened today.
Featured image via screengrab/60 Minutes Australia
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.