Julian Assange Denied Bail During U.S. Extradition Appeal
On 4 January 2021, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the USA.
Julian Assange was denied bail on the 6th January 2021 by a London judge who cited the WikiLeaks founder’s years hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy as evidence that he remained a flight risk.
Her decision was based on the likelihood that Assange would take his own life once incarcerated in the merciless US supermax prison system. However, Baraitser refused bail for Assange, arguing he could abscond while awaiting an appeal by the prosecution.
There has been minimal attention to the implications of the most part of Baraitser’s ruling, which relates to the US prosecution case against him.
Regarding Baraitser’s ruling, UN special raporteur on torture Nils Melzer commented: I am gravely concerned that the [Baraitser] judgement confirms the entire, very dangerous rationale underlying the US indictment, which effectively amounts to criminalizing national security journalism.
He added, Should the US provide (via an appeal) assurances that Mr. Assange will be treated humanely, his extradition could potentially be confirmed on appeal without any meaningful review of the very serious legal concerns raised by this case
In the following video report by Roxanne we see the action outside the court on 04/01/2021, in addition to the statement from Stella and the legal team we also speak with Piers Morgan and David Kurten,
In January 2020, Kurten announced he would be running as an independent candidate in the upcoming London mayoral and London Assembly elections (then scheduled for May 2020, but both elections were postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 virus). Kurten founded a new political party in 2020.
It could also be argued that Assange’s prosecution was selective.
In December 2020, Pulitzer prize winning journalist and film-maker Laura Poitras pointed out that she was: “guilty of violating the Espionage Act, Title 18, U.S. Code Sections 793 and 798. If charged and convicted, I could spend the rest of my life in prison”. But she hasn’t been charged.
Assange is the founder and former director of WikiLeaks, the not-for-profit website publishing leaked documents and classified media.
In 2010, WikiLeaks published a leaked video acquired by Chelsea Manning of a US military Apache helicopter brazenly gunning down more than a dozen civilians including two journalists after mistaking them for terrorists.
In the same year they later published hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever released to the public.
This led the US government to launch a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks and the subsequent imprisonment of Chelsea Manning who was jailed for eight years.During this time, charges were brought against Assange in Sweden for sexual assault.
Believing the charges to be politically motivated, Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to the US where he was wanted for the WikiLeaks publications.
The case against him in Sweden was dropped in 2017 and in 2019, Ecuador withdrew its asylum for Assange, allowing for his arrest by UK police for breaching bail conditions.
He was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for his actions but is currently facing 17 charges relating to violations of the Espionage Act in the US which caries a total of 175 years in jail if convicted.
What Happens Now?
Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has been a long-time supporter of Assange and has offered him protection if he makes it to the country.
Assange is currently incarcerated in HM Prison Belmarsh.
We will follow this story and update