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Great Britain: threatened extradition: Assange has to wait for a decision

Great Britain: threatened extradition: Assange has to wait for a decision

Julian Assange has been in a London prison for almost five years. Now the Australian hopes to be able to defend himself again in court against his threatened extradition to the USA.

In the fight against his threatened extradition to the USA, Julian Assange must continue to wait. A hearing in a London court ended on Wednesday without a decision – the judges want to decide at a later date whether the Wikileaks founder is entitled to a full appeal process. For the 52-year-old Australian, it would be the last chance to defend himself against his deportation in a British court. The US Department of Justice wants to try Assange on espionage charges.

A lawyer rejected the accusation that the US was persecuting Assange because of his political views. Instead, Clair Dobbin argued for the US side that Assange had endangered other people by publishing unredacted documents. It was not a “blunder” or “mistake”, but rather huge amounts of uncensored material had been published.

What the USA accuses Assange of

Washington accuses the Australian Assange of having, together with the whistleblower Chelsea Manning, stolen and published secret material from US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby endangering the lives of US informants. If convicted in the USA, Assange could face up to 175 years in prison. Assange’s lawyers, on the other hand, see the prosecution as a retaliatory action by Washington because Wikileaks also uncovered war crimes through its publications.

In front of London’s Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday, demonstrators again demanded that Assange be released. They held a banner and placards with slogans such as “Free Assange” and “Journalism is not a crime.”

What path Assange could take?

The two-day hearing began on Tuesday. It is not known when the court will announce a decision. If Assange’s appeal is rejected in London, he would still have to go to the European Court of Human Rights.

His wife Stella Assange had announced that his team would immediately file an application for an injunction to prevent immediate extradition. But there is concern that the British government could ignore such an order. Stella Assange also said in advance that she feared for his life because of the expected harsh prison conditions in the USA and her husband’s unstable psyche.

Appeals for release also from Germany

Human rights organizations and journalist associations around the world are campaigning for Assange’s release. The chairman of the Parliamentary Control Committee of the Bundestag, Konstantin von Notz (Greens), emphasized that the USA does not share the legal understanding of press freedom in this specific case.

Both Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and the Federal Government’s Human Rights Commissioner, Luise Amtberg (Greens), made this clear to their partners in Great Britain and the USA, Notz told the Editorial Network Germany (RND) on Wednesday.

Wikileaks co-founder Daniel Domscheit-Berg told RND that he hoped Assange would be released. A fair trial cannot be expected in the USA. Bundestag member Sevim Dagdelen from the Sahra Wagenknecht alliance described Assange’s imprisonment for almost five years as a “disgrace for the whole of Europe”. She accused the federal government of inaction.

The authors’ association PEN-Zentrum Deutschland also called for Assange’s release. “What Assange and Wikileaks did back then by publishing secret documents is still an integral part of the investigation into war crimes and disregard for human rights,” the association said.

Source: Stern

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