Julian Assange fights extradition

IssueOctober 2020 - November 2020
News by David Polden

On 7 September, Julian Assange faced a new extradition hearing in London, set to last four weeks.

The US had been demanding his extradition to face charges of conspiracy to receive, obtain and disclose classified US diplomatic and military documents – because of his work with WikiLeaks.

If found guilty on all charges, Julian could face up to 175 years in jail.

Clive Stafford-Smith, founder of the legal charity Reprieve, told the court that documents published by WikiLeaks had exposed ‘grave violations of law’ such as the use of US drones for targeted strikes in Pakistan, the Guardian reported..

Julian’s partner, Stella Moris, told the press: ‘Julian’s case has huge repercussions for freedom of expression and freedom of the press. This is an attack on journalism. If he is extradited for publishing inconvenient truths about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, then it will set a precedent, and any British journalist or publisher could also be extradited in the future.’

On the first day of the trial, Julian’s lawyers said that they had not been given enough time to examine fresh evidence that claimed to show that Julian recruited hackers to steal military secrets. The lawyers asked for an adjournment but this was refused.

Julian was arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in April 2019 and has been held on remand in Belmarsh prison ever since.