The High Court judges made clear in their ruling that it was ultimately up to the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court, whether or not to allow the 50-year-old Australian’s appeal.
In December, the High Court overturned on appeal the decision of a judge who had refused at first instance to extradite Julian Assange to the United States where he is being prosecuted for the dissemination, from 2010, of more than 700,000 classified documents on US military and diplomatic activities, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Prosecuted in particular for espionage, he risks up to 175 years in prison in a case which, according to his supporters, constitutes a serious attack on the freedom of the press.
Our fight continues. We will fight until Julian is free, said leaving the court, smiling and visibly relieved, his fiancée Stella Moris and mother of his two children.
Today is a partial victory, corn
the punishment stands for Assange, detained in Belmarsh prisondays”,”text”:”for more than 1000days”}}’>for more than 1000 days, lamented the editor of WikiLeaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson, referring to
serious human rights violations. He denounced the US lawsuits as
a blatant terrorist attack on press freedom around the world.
A matter of treatment
British justice initially ruled in his favor a year ago, when Judge Vanessa Baraitser opposed the surrender to US authorities of Julian Assange, citing the risk of suicide.
But Washington scored a major victory in December, when the High Court overturned that decision, finding the United States had provided assurances that addressed the judge’s concerns.
The Australian’s lawyers then asked to go to the Supreme Court, which the High Court authorized them to do on Monday, citing
a point of law to clarify concerning the assurances given by the American government on the treatment which would be reserved for him. They now have 14 days to seize this court.
The decision was also welcomed by dozens of supporters of Julian Assange, gathered in front of the court.
I have no words to say how relieved I am, reacted Sue Barnett, 61, questioned by AFP, holding in her hands a sign asking for her release
Held in a high security prison near London for two and a half years, Julian Assange was arrested by British police in April 2019 after spending seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom where he had taken refuge. while he was out on bail.
He then feared extradition to the United States, or Sweden where he was the subject of rape proceedings since abandoned.
During the appeal hearing about his extradition at the end of October, the United States had sought to reassure on the treatment which would be reserved for the founder of WikiLeaks.
Washington said he would not be incarcerated at the ADX super high-security prison in Florence, Colorado, nicknamed the
Alcatraz of the Rockies – where members of Al-Qaeda are notably detained in almost total isolation – and that he would receive the necessary clinical and psychological care. The Americans had also raised the possibility that he could ask to serve his sentence in Australia.
These guarantees had convinced the British judges, but not those close to Julian Assange who fear for his mental and physical health.
The Australian received the support of around forty French deputies from all sides who pleaded for him to be able to benefit from political asylum in France.