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General News    H2'ed 1/11/21

Assange extradition denied but appealed in waning days of Trump Administration

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Although Baraitser was not required to make a judgement on whether Assange was guilty of the 18 US charges, she openly categorised his actions as "theft". His (unsuccessful) actions to try and protect his source Chelsea Manning were labelled "hacking".

Furthermore, while Assange's extradition was denied on the grounds it would be oppressive to his deteriorating mental health, creating a substantial risk of suicide if delivered into the hands of the US mass incarceration system, future journalists who publish national security information but do not have a documented history of mental health issues are left wide open to similar targeting.

For those of you who wish to examine Baraitser's ruling in more detail, you'll find the full 132-page verdict here.

As expected, the US almost immediately indicated to the court it would be filing an application for appeal. They now have just shy of one week to do so.

The landmark ruling was then followed by an application to grant Assange bail in a further hearing on Wednesday - you will have no doubt also heard that this was rejected. While the court's finding that Assange remains a flight risk given his actions to avoid US extradition in the past was not overwhelmingly surprising, the ruling remains to be harsh and illogical given the earlier verdict - especially given it was accepted that H.M.P. Belmarsh where Assange is detained is a leading factor in his mental deterioration.

It also flies in the face of all previous precedents. As Edward Fitzgerald QC told the court when making the bail application on Assange's behalf: "Every canon of English law over the centuries is that once there's been a ruling that someone's entitled to discharge " that would be a reason for them to at least attain conditional liberty."

This was, of course, not the case here and lawyers for Assange have already indicated they intend to challenge Baraitser's bail decision at the UK High Court within a matter of days. Given the long history of isolation and deprivation that Assange has already endured, we are hopeful her ruling will be overturned promptly. Not doing so would be punishment by process.

Either way, we must all continue to closely scrutinise this case and place pressure where we can. Our own investigations are continuing and we hope to have a further update on this front for you shortly.

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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:
http://www.americaisnotbroke.net/

Scott is a former President of Common Ground-NYC (http://commongroundnyc.org/), a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of articles for (more...)
 

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