Today: May 28, 2024
Today: May 28, 2024

Assange extradition moves closer as U.S. provides UK court with assurances

Share This
LA Post: Assange extradition moves closer as U.S. provides UK court with assurances
April 16, 2024
Michael Holden - Reuters

By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - The United States has provided assurances requested by the High Court in London to pave the way for WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange to be extradited from Britain, a spokesperson for his wife confirmed on Tuesday.

Last month, the High Court ruled that, without certain U.S. guarantees, Assange, 52, would be allowed to launch a new appeal against being extradited to face 18 charges, all bar one under the Espionage Act, over WikiLeaks' release of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables.

Those assurances - that in a U.S. trial he could rely on the First Amendment right to free speech and that there was no prospect of new charges which could see the death penalty being imposed - have now been submitted by a deadline which fell on Tuesday, the campaign team fighting his extradition confirmed.

There will now be a court hearing on May 20. His lawyers have already described U.S. assurances given in previous cases as not "worth the paper they're written on".

Assange's wife Stella, whom he married while in prison in London, said in a statement the U.S. guarantees did not satisfy their concerns, describing them as "blatant weasel words".

"The United States has issued a non-assurance in relation to the First Amendment, and a standard assurance in relation to the death penalty," she said.

"The diplomatic note does nothing to relieve our family's extreme distress about his future -- his grim expectation of spending the rest of his life in isolation in US prison for publishing award-winning journalism."

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. Department of Justice or a court spokesperson.

GLIMMER OF HOPE?

Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden said he was considering a request from Australia to drop the prosecution, which Assange's U.S. lawyer described as "encouraging".

It was not clear what influence, if any, Biden could exert on a criminal case, but the Wall Street Journal has also reported that discussions are underway about a potential plea bargaining deal.

Assange has spent more than 13 years in various legal battles in the English courts since he was first arrested in November 2010.

To his many supporters, he is an anti-establishment hero who is being persecuted for exposing U.S. wrongdoing and details of alleged war crimes in secret, classified files.

The U.S. authorities argue he is not being prosecuted for the publication of the leaked materials, but for the criminal act of conspiring with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to unlawfully obtain them.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Popular

Donor fatigue persists as nations commit around $8.1 billion for conflict-hit Syrians

International donors meeting in Brussels say they will commit 7.5 billion euros, about $8.1 billion, in both grants and loans to support Syrians battered by war, poverty, and hunger for the rest of this year and beyond

Donor fatigue persists as nations commit around $8.1 billion for conflict-hit Syrians

Mexican government says the arm of a 19th century mummy came off after mishandling by museum staff

Mexico's federal archaeology agency is accusing the conservative-governed city of Guanajuato of mistreating the country’s famous mummified 19th century bodies

Mexican government says the arm of a 19th century mummy came off after mishandling by museum staff

US company rejects Mexico's criticism, buy-out offer, says president's projects hurt the environment

An American quarry company has rejected the Mexican president’s campaign of criticisms and closures, and his offer to buy its property on the Caribbean coast

US company rejects Mexico's criticism, buy-out offer, says president's projects hurt the environment

South Africa's surprise election challenger is evoking the past anti-apartheid struggle

Former South African President Jacob Zuma is the wild card in Wednesday’s election for Africa’s most advanced country

South Africa's surprise election challenger is evoking the past anti-apartheid struggle

Russia to build a small nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan

Russia and Uzbekistan have signed an accord for Moscow to build a small nuclear power plant in the Central Asian country

Russia to build a small nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan

Related

Iran further increases its stockpile of uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels, watchdog says

Iran further increases its stockpile of uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels, watchdog says

North Korean rocket carrying its 2nd spy satellite explodes shortly after launch

North Korean rocket carrying its 2nd spy satellite explodes shortly after launch

Netanyahu says deadly Israeli strike in Rafah was the result of a 'tragic mistake'

Netanyahu says deadly Israeli strike in Rafah was the result of a 'tragic mistake'

G7 officials play down expectations on details of loan for Ukraine

G7 officials play down expectations on details of loan for Ukraine
- Advertisement -
Advertisement: Limited Time Offer