The high court has ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited.
Judges’ decision on Friday could allow Assange to be sent to the US, where he faces 18 conspiracy and hacking-related crimes charges.
Assange leaked thousands of documents and diplomatic communications that revealed the bloody crimes of Western imperialism.
One leak was footage from a US Apache helicopter in Iraq in 2007. It showed Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen, driver Saeed Chmagh and several others as the Apache shoots and kills them in a public square in Baghdad, Iraq.
An unarmed group of adults and children arrives on the scene in a minivan after the initial shooting.
As they try to transport the wounded, they are fired upon as well.
Many of the leaks were bravely shared by former US soldier Chelsea Manning. She spent seven years in jail between 2010 and 2017—and was jailed again for just over a year in 2019 after refusing to testify to an inquiry into the WikiLeaks website.
In January of this year, a judge blocked Assange’s extradition on the grounds that it would put his life in danger and that he would be at risk of self harm and suicide.
The US challenged that decision this week—and was accepted by Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Lord Justice Holroyde. Lawyers argued that the judge’s decision in January was based on the assumption that Assange would be held in restrictive prison conditions, impacting on his mental health.
US representatives make assurances that Assange would not be held in these kinds of conditions when he would stand trial.
But, they also made clear that if Assange is found guilty, he will be thrown into the US’s brutal prison complex..
Assange could face up to 175 years in jail.
The final decision to extradite Assange will now rest with home secretary Priti Patel.
Stella Morris, Assange’s fiancee, spoke to a crowd outside the high court on Friday. “For the past two years and a half, Julian has remained in Belmarsh prison,” she said. “And in fact, he has been detained since December 7, 2010, in one form or another, 11 years.
“For how long can this go on? Today is international human rights day. What a shame. How cynical to have this decision on this day.”
If Assange is finally extradited, it will set a worrying precedent for anyone who exposes the crimes of imperialism. Assange should not be forced to return to the US and should have the charges against him dropped.
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