To the anger of his supporters, many on Friday December 10 before the Royal Court of Justice of the United Kingdom, Julian Assange will sleep again this evening in the high security prison of Belmarsh. Indeed, the High Court of Justice refused to follow the judges who, at first instance in January 2021, had opposed the extradition of the co-founder of WikiLeaks to the United States because of “His mental condition”. The extradition request to the United States will therefore resume its course and the possibilities of defense of the whistleblower are dwindling, eleven years after his first imprisonment in London, shortly after the start of legal proceedings against him.
Extradition request admissible
After the assurances provided by the American government as to the conditions of treatment of Julian Assange, the judges considered admissible Washington’s extradition request. In this case, the accused will not be subject to special administrative measures or imprisonment in a maximum security establishment, either before or after his trial in the United States. For psychological problems, he will receive treatment provided by a doctor. Finally, he will have the right to request to be transferred to Australia, his native country, to serve his possible prison sentence. In the eyes of the judges, “Assurances of this type are solemn promises made between governments”.
→ ANALYSIS. Should we campaign for the release of Julian Assange?
At the time of the verdict, in court number 1 where he was awaiting the verdict, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, fervent support of Julian Assange, was annoyed by the arguments put forward by the judges. “These solemn promises were given by a state whose war crimes and murders of civilians were exposed by Julian Assange”, he recalled amid the hubbub of his supporters.
Stella Morris, the fiancée of the accused and mother of their two children, was surprised on her side by the consideration of promises from “Of a state that tried to kill Julian”. Indeed, American journalists revealed in September that senior CIA officials had planned to assassinate the whistleblower in 2017, following the release of new secret information by his organization WikiLeaks.
Decision of the Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel
The judges of the British High Court recommended in their verdict that ‘The case resumed at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (specializing in extraditions, Editor’s note) with instructions that a district judge refer the case back to the minister, who will decide whether Mr. Assange should be extradited to the United States. “ Even if many legal adventures can still take place, the final judicial verdict will only be advisory: it will be the Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, who will ultimately decide to extradite Julian Assange or not.
This situation is dangerous for the Australian. Since Brexit and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to leave the European Union, the British government has been looking for other partners on the international scene. Decided to deploy his strategy of Global Britain (a United Kingdom turned towards a world market), he hopes to sign a free trade agreement with Washington. To achieve his ends, the Prime Minister and his Minister of the Interior might be tempted to sacrifice Julian Assange.