The third anniversary of the arrest and incarceration of Julian Assange at a maximum-security prison has sparked protests in London and the United States. Tomorrow marks three years since the Wikileaks founder was forcibly dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had sought asylum over the previous seven years. Vigils were due to be held yesterday at the embassy, Westminster magistrates’ court and Belmarsh prison, where he has been held for the past three years. Mr Assange’s family, friends and supporters are calling for his release and the US to drop its extradition case against him. Protests are also planned today in Washington DC outside the British embassy and the Department of Justice offices.
Twenty years ago, on 11 January 2002, the United States government brought its first ‘detainees’ abducted during the so-called War on Terror to its military prison in Guantánamo Bay. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, ‘We do plan to, for the most part, treat them in a manner that is reasonably consistent with the Geneva Conventions’. For the most part. Evidence began to emerge almost immediately – including from the International Committee of the Red Cross – that the Geneva Conventions were being violated and that many of the prisoners were being tortured. By December 2002, the US media began to report that ‘many held at Guantánamo [were] not likely terrorists’.
The Progressive International (PI), in collaboration with several like minded organizations, will organize the second Belmarsh Tribunal in New York on February 25. It announced the decision in a press release on February 14. The Tribunal seeks to hold the US government accountable for its war crimes in the two decades of the so-called war on terror and also push for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s release. The first Belmarsh Tribunal was organized in London during Assange’s extradition hearings in October last year. It is named after the infamous prison in London where Assange has been kept for almost three years. The upcoming Belmarsh Tribunal in New York coincides with with the date of the opening of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility by the US in occupied parts of Cuba 20 years ago.
Journalist and Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, as the movement calling for his unconditional release and against his extradition to the United States grows louder. Assange was nominated by several individuals, including members of parliament and former peace prize winners, responding to calls from Assange’s partner Stella Moris. On January 29, a nomination was filed by German politicians Martin Sonneborn, a member of the European Parliament (MEP), and Sevim Dağdelen, a member of the German Bundestag. In their letter to the Nobel Committee, they explained that the nomination of Assange was “in honor of his unparalleled contributions to the pursuit of peace, and his immense personal sacrifices to promote peace for all.”
The British High Court of England and Wales on Monday said it would allow the imprisoned publisher of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, to, in essence, appeal a ruling that would have seen him extradited to the United States where he faces a possible 175 years in prison for the publication of classified documents and videos. The High Court technically refused to allow an appeal to the Supreme Court, but, in a legal loophole, it left it up to that court to determine whether it will grant permission to consider one legal issue. “We certify a single point of law … in what circumstances can an appellate court receive assurances from a requesting state which were not before the court of first instance in extradition proceedings,” the High Court said in an appearance that lasted less than a minute.
London - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prevailed in his effort to obtain certification from the British High Court of Justice, which would allow him to appeal their prior decision to the Supreme Court. Under the law, the court must determine that the request for an appeal involves a “point of law” that is of “public importance.” Journalist Mohamed Elmaazi, who was in the courtroom to cover the very brief proceedings, reported that the High Court certified the following point of law: “in what circumstances can an appellate court receive [diplomatic] assurances which were not before the court of first instance in extradition proceedings.” Although the High Court maintained it had settled the question, they acknowledged the Supreme Court had not previously considered the question.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has requested the U.K. High Court of Justice to approve three points of law of general public importance, as at least one certified point is necessary for the Supreme Court to hear Assange's appeal against extradition to the United States, his fiancee Stella Moris said on Thursday. For the country's Supreme Court to hear the case of an appeal, it must be first recognized that the appeal concerns legal matters that are important to the larger public. "Julian Assange has asked the High Court to certify three points of law of general public importance. The Supreme Court cannot hear his appeal unless the High Court agrees to certify at least one of them. The High Court could notify its decision about certification at any moment," Moris tweeted.
On 12 July 2007, two US AH-64 Apache helicopters fired 30-millimetre cannon rounds at a group of Iraqi civilians in New Baghdad. These US Army gunners murdered at least a dozen people, including Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver Saeed Chmagh. Reuters immediately asked for the US to conduct a probe into the killing. Instead, they were fed the official story by the US government that soldiers of Bravo Company, 2-16 infantry had been attacked by small arms fire as part of their Operation Ilaaj in the al-Amin al-Thaniyah neighbourhood. The soldiers called in air strikes, which came in and cleared the streets of insurgents. Reuters had information that the helicopters filmed the attack, and so the media house requested the video from the US military.
On Thursday afternoon I was in Edinburgh High Court to get back my passport, which had been confiscated during my own court proceedings avowedly to stop me going to Spain to testify in the trial of David Morales of UC Global. He stands accused by whistleblowers in his own company of spying on Julian Assange, his lawyers and other associates (including myself), on behalf of the CIA, and in engaging with them on plans to kidnap or assassinate Assange. Having got my passport, I was wandering down the Canongate to buy a new sporran. I fear that I only wear my kilt on occasions where I end up not at all sober, and invariably spend the next morning wondering what on earth happened to my tie, left hose, mobile phone etc. The loss of a sporran is a particularly expensive experience.
The High Court in London on Friday ruled in the U.S. appeal against a lower court decision not to extradite imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange by sending the case back to Magistrate’s Court with instructions to send the case to the secretary of state to decide on Assange’s extradition. The matter is now in the hands of Dominic Raab, secretary of state for justice, unless Assange’s lawyers appeal the decision to the U.K. Supreme Court, which they have said they will do. If extradited, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison on charges under the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Assange is the first journalist to be charged with espionage for obtaining and publishing state secrets.
When I first saw Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison, in 2019, shortly after he had been dragged from his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy, he said, “I think I am losing my mind”. He was gaunt and emaciated, his eyes hollow and the thinness of his arms was emphasised by a yellow identifying cloth tied around his left arm, an evocative symbol of institutional control. For all but the two hours of my visit, he was confined to a solitary cell in a wing known as “healthcare”, an Orwellian name. In the cell next to him a deeply disturbed man screamed through the night. Another occupant suffered from terminal cancer. Another was seriously disabled. “One day we were allowed to play Monopoly,” he said, “as therapy. That was our healthcare!” “This is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” I said.
For the past two days, Chris Hedges has been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US' request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange's precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “harsh conditions” of the inhumane US prison system, “causing him to commit suicide.” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years.
Washington, DC - For the past two days, I have been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange’s precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “harsh conditions” of the inhumane US prison system, “causing him to commit suicide.” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years.
Ian Duncan Burnett, the most powerful judge in England and Wales, will join Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde on the bench next week for the two-day U.S. appeal in the extradition case of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange at the High Court in London, according to a spokesman at the Royal Courts of Justice. Burnett, known as Baron Burnett of Maldon, was the High Court justice who on humanitarian grounds overturned a lower court ruling that British activist Lauri Love should be extradited to the United States. Burnett ruled in February 2018 that Love’s extradition would be “oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition.” Burnett and Mr. Justice Duncan Ouseley said in their decision that, “We accept that the evidence shows that the fact of extradition would bring on severe depression, and that Mr. Love would probably be determined to commit suicide, here or in America.”