Decision by Lords to allow extradition of Julian Assange is political persecution

Photo by Alberto Pezzali/AP/Tass: Julian Assange supporters outside the court

Contributed by Joe Montero

Britain’s High Court decided to extradite Julian Assange to the United States last Friday (10 December 2021). The two Lords who made this disgusting ruling did not deliver justice. Their role was to apply a political decision. It’s a simple as this. The Assange case has always been a show trial, and it has exposed that British justice a lot more to do about power than arriving at the truth.

To add to the farce, the decision came on International Human Rights Day and days after the United States sponsored summit on democracy, where the United States made a bid deal about freedom of the press and human rights.

Anyone who has followed the case knows, that Julian Assange faces another show trial in the United States, under charges of treason to a country he doesn’t belong to. He will face a handpicked tribunal, where the decision has already been made and the right to a proper defense will not exist.

Judges Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde

Key evidence presented in the British High Court by an informant who has confessed he lied was ignored by the British judges. The revelation of the use of a Spanish security firm to spy on Assange’s layers, doctors and confidents put aside, despite it being a clear breech of the client -lawyer confidentiality requirement needed for a fair hearing.

The fact that that the court heard proof that the United States had planned to murder the defendant was conveniently overlooked.

Both judges, Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett, and Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde, should have been excluded from the case because of conflict of interest. Burnett happens to have been for 50 years with Sir Alan Duncan, who was the minister responsible for ordering Assange’s kidnapping from the Ecuadorean Embassy. Bennet happens to be a baron and is therefore highly placed within the British aristocracy and with political connections that go way past one minister.

Holroyde was the judge who in July reversed the decision of the order of Judge Venessa Baraitser not to extradite and ruled out the inclusion of Assange’s, as relevant evidence. The appeal of the prosecution was granted on this foundation and having Holroyde hear it prejudiced the court.

Having both judges sit on the case, shows the result had already worked out outside the court.

Ironic it happened on Human Rights Day’

Video from RT UK

The judges made it clear that they had to consider the fact the United States and Great Britain are political allies.

If the extradition takes place, there is little doubt that Julian will be taken to notorious ADX Florence prison in Colorado, which has long been condemned by jurists and human rights groups as a place for inhumane punishment and the disappearance of prisoners. Amnesty International has pointed out that the United States has reserved the right to break any promise it makes About the treatment of Assange.

He will be held under what is called “special administrative measures.”  This means special confinement measures, including but to not fined to isolation, limiting contact with visitors, monitoring of meetings with lawyers.

Assurances by the lawyers representing the United States that imprisonment at ADX and administrative measures may not be carried out and that Assange could apply to have his sentence served in Australia mean little when. As Amnesty International has said, the United States has been careful to leave itself a way out. The promise is not a commitment. It is a perhaps that can be revoked. It’s “not worth the paper its written on.”

The judges knowingly wrongly interpreted this as a guarantee. Their decision is a violation of British law, which expressly forbids extradition where there is a risk that the person will be mistreated.

 A chorus of condemnation from journalists’ groups and human rights advocates has answered the decision of the two judges.

RSF condemns the UK High Court’s decision

Video from Reporters sans frontières

Julian’s partner Stella Moris told supporters outside the court, that decision is a “grave miscarriage of justice,” which threatens the rights of journalists everywhere to do their jobs without fear of retaliation by governments that don’t like what they publish.

Stella Moris speaks out

Video from The Guardian

“We will fight,” she said. “Every generation has an epic fight to fight, and this is ours, because Julian represents the fundamentals of what it means to live in a free society.”

Assange’s lawyers have said that the decision will be appealed on the grounds of the right to free speech and the political motivation of the extradition request. Under the order of the two judges, the case will return to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, with a direction that a district judge send the case to the British Home Secretary for a final decision.

There is a lot at stake. The Assange case is meant to set a precedent to silence those who speak out against government policy and part of the trend toward diminishing transparency and big brother government in countries associated with the case, the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. The decisions in the case are not made in the courts. They are made by politicians acting to protect the powerful.

This brings us top the role of subsequent Australian governments. They have surrendered Julian Assange to this abuse and failed to offer the protection that is supposed to be due to an Australian citizen. Nevertheless, a growing band of parliamentarians from all political parties are trying to change this.

More than a few Journalists are trying to break through media outlets ticking to the anti-Assange official editorial line. Human rights organisations in Australia are joining their overseas counterparts and are raising their voices.

Polls are consistently saying that most Australians want Julian Assange freed, and it is reported that the Morrison government is under pressure to at least make inquiries.

A political trial must be won politically. Conspiring politicians using a corrupted judicial system are not going to turn away from this, without it becoming untenable. Only when there are consequences, via hostile public opinion, can a change be brought about. Doing this, requires many people across the political spectrum to do their part.

This matter is far from over.

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