https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-27/julian-assange-files-latest-appeal-in-bid-to-stop-us-extradition/101378994?utm_campaign=abc_news_web&utm_content=twitter&utm_medium=content_shared&utm_source=abc_news_web&fbclid=IwAR3DulMSeQDAIJ9QPKhT-fpJNkzbZLPR3FMcGJFQmRR9r7JycwX4rkpDbuA 27 Aug 22
Julian Assange’s legal team has filed an appeal to Britain’s High Court in an effort to thwart his extradition to the United States to face espionage charges.
- The appeal argues that Julian Assange is being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions and for protected speech
- Assange has been in custody since his was arrested in April 2019 and dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London
- He is facing 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse in the United States
British Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder in June after he was denied an appeal in the Supreme Court appeal back in March.
A public relations firm representing Assange said in a statement that the respondents to the appeal were Ms Patel and the government of the United States.
Lawyers for Assange will argue that he is being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions and for protected speech, and that the extradition request violates the US-UK Extradition Treaty and international law as it relates to what it calls political offences.
His lawyers will also argue that the US Government “misrepresented the core facts of the case” to the British courts and that the extradition request “constitute an abuse of process”.
“The Perfected Grounds of Appeal contain the arguments on which Julian Assange intends to challenge District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision of 4 January 2021 and introduces significant new evidence that has developed since that ruling,” the statement read.
That January 2021 ruling saw Judge Baraister refuse the US Government’s extradition request on the basis that of Assange’s mental condition and the risk of suicide if he were held in a maximum-security prison.
But Judge Baraister rejected nearly all of the arguments put forward by Assange’s lawyers at the time, including that the charges against him were politically motivated and that he would not receive a fair trial in the US.
In December 2021 the US Government won an appeal against that decision in the UK’s High Court, with Judge Timothy Holroyde finding that the US had given assurances to the UK about Assange’s detention, including about his treatment in the US prison system and that the US would allow him to be transferred to Australia to serve any prison sentence.
Assange’s latest appeal also argues Ms Patel “erred in her decision to approve the extradition order on grounds of specialty” because the extradition request violated the US-UK Extradition Treaty.
US authorities have accused the 51-year-old of conspiring to hack government computers and of violating an espionage law in connection with the release of confidential cables by WikiLeaks in 2010-2011.
Assange is facing up to 175 years in prison over the 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over the leaks, but the US government has said that a sentence of between three and six years was more likely.
Stella Assange, Assange’s wife, said the pursuit of her husband was “criminal abuse”.
“Since the last ruling, overwhelming evidence has emerged, proving that the United States prosecution against my husband is a criminal abuse,” she said in a statement.
“The High Court judges will now decide whether Julian is given the opportunity to put the case against the United States before open court, and in full, at the appeal.”