By Dr Leon Tressell
On Monday 24th January 2022 the High Court in London granted Julian Assange the right to appeal his extradition case to the Supreme Court. In effect, he now has the opportunity to petition the Supreme Court that it should grant him a full appeal hearing regarding his extradition to the United States.
After the short court hearing had finished Stella Morris, Assange’s fiancée, told supporters: “The situation now is that the Supreme Court has to decide whether it will hear the appeal, but make no mistake, we won today in court.”
The Committee To Protect Journalists issued a statement after the court hearing today:
“We are glad that Julian Assange will be allowed to apply to appeal his extradition in the UK’s Supreme Court. The prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder in the United States would set a deeply harmful legal precedent that would allow the prosecution of reporters for news gathering activities and must be stopped. We strongly encourage the US Justice Department to halt extradition proceedings and drop all charges against Assange.”
Back in November the High Court granted the US the right to extradite Assange. It overturned the decision of the extradition hearing in January 2021 not to extradite Assange to the US.
If the Supreme Court decides not to grant Assange an appeal hearing then his case goes to the Home Secretary for her decision to agree or reject his extradition to the US.
Despite today’s legal victory, Julian Assange faces months more in Belmarsh maximum security prison where his mental and physical health have suffered greatly. Back in November 2021 Assange had a stroke which illustrates how three years in prison, under harsh conditions, have taken an immense toll on his health.
The United States’ relentless pursuit of a journalist who has exposed its many war crimes can be explained by a desire for revenge against Assange and to stifle all journalists who have the temerity to criticise US foreign policy.
Outside the court today Stella Morris declared that the campaign to free Julian Assange must continue with renewed urgency:
“But let’s not forget every time we win, as long as this case isn’t dropped, as long as Julian isn’t freed, Julian continues to suffer. For almost three years he’s been in Belmarsh prison and he is suffering profoundly. Julian has to be freed – we hope this will soon end.”
The campaign to free Julian Assange continues. Donations to support his legal defence can be made here.
Leon Tressell is a geo-political historian who has written extensively about the new Cold War between the US and Russia/China as well as the persecution of whistle blowers such as Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.
Image: Julian Assange. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dgcomsoc/14953880621. Author: Cancillería del Ecuador, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
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