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OUTRAGE: Assange Loses, High Court Allows US Appeal; Quashes Assange’s Discharge - VIDEO Consortium News, BBC, 10 Dec. 2021

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OUTRAGE!: Assange Loses, High Court Allows US Appeal; Quashes Assange’s Discharge – Consortium News VIDEO, BBC 10 Dec. 2021

 

 

Assange Loses, High Court Allows US Appeal; Quashes Assange’s Discharge

December 10, 2021

The High Court allowed the U.S. appeal to reverse an order not to extradite Julian Assange and to send the case back to magistrate’s court.

The High Court at the Royal Courts of Justice. (David Castor/Wikimedia Commons)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

The High Court in London on Friday ruled in the U.S. appeal against a lower court decision not to extradite imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange by sending the case back to Magistrate’s Court with instructions to send the case to the secretary of state to decide on Assange’s extradition.

The matter is now in the hands of Dominic Raab, secretary of state for justice, unless Assange’s lawyers appeal the decision to the U.K. Supreme Court, which they have said they will do. If extradited, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison on charges under the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Assange is the first journalist to be charged with espionage for obtaining and publishing state secrets.

Lord Justice Timothy Holyrode, who read the High Court’s summary decision in court in nine minutes, said the order by a lower court to discharge Assange was overturned and that he was to remain on remand in prison.  Holyrode said that the High Court had accepted the U.S. assurances that Assange would not be kept in harsh prison conditions in the U.S. He called them “solemn undertakings from one government to another.”

The High Court was satisfied, Holyrode said, that Assange would not be held under Special Administrative Measures or sent to ADX Florence maximum security prison in Colorado, that Assange would receive adequate medical treatment while incarcerated and that he could serve his post-trial and post-appeal sentence in his native Australia.

“The court rejected various criticism argued on Mr. Assange’s behalf …that the assurances …were not sufficient,” Holyrode said. 

He read:

Holyrode read only the summary judgment in court. He said nothing about the district judge’s finding of oppression to discharge Assange, pointing out only that the High Court was satisfied with the U.S. assurances. Details of the mental health issues are in the full 27-page judgement that can be read here.  It is discussed later in this report.

Holyrode (justice.uk)

Holyrode pointed out that the district judge, Vanessa Baraitser, “decided all but one of the issues in favour of the USA. She decided that Mr Assange’s mental condition was such that it would be oppressive to extradite him because of the harsh conditions in which he was likely to be detained.” 

Holyrode said: “Mr Assange has indicated that he challenges the DJ’s decisions on the issues which were decided against him, and will seek to raise those issues at a later stage.” This is in reference to a possible cross appeal that Assange’s lawyers could lodge at the Supreme Court, depending on whether the Supreme Court accepts his appeal.

U.S. Grounds for Appeal

The High Court rejected three of the five U.S. grounds for appeal:

The High Court judgment says:

In other words, the High Court could have sent the case back to Magistrate’s Court to be re-litigated. Instead it decided to send the case back to the lower court with the instructions to reverse its ruling and send the matter to the secretary of state to decide on extradition.

The High Court laid out specifically why it allowed the U.S. appeal and rejected Assange’s argument. It came down to the fact that the court accepted the U.S. assurances even though they came after Baraitser’s ruling not to extradite. The High Court explicitly believed in the sincerity of those assurances. 

The judgment said: “There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say. There is no basis for assuming that the USA has not given the assurances in good faith.”

It said further:

The High Court rejected arguments by Assange’s lawyers that the U.S. assurances could not be trusted, by  ruling:

The court rejected the Assange argument that the assurances should not be admitted because they came after Baraitser had ruled. “In our view, a court hearing an extradition case, whether at first instance or on appeal, has the power to receive and consider assurances whenever they are offered by a requesting state,” the High Court judgment said.

It said further:

The High Court also tried to justify why the U.S. waited until after the extradition hearing in September 2020 to make its assurances. “We observe that the decision that all closing submissions should be made in writing, in a case in which the arguments had ranged far and wide over many days of hearing, may well have contributed to the difficulty faced by the USA in offering suitable assurances any earlier than it did,” the court said.

The U.S. assurances appear to contain an error. It promises Assange will not be held pre-trial at ADX Florence prison, when Assange would be held before trial at the Alexandria Detention Center.

 

Mental Health Issue

Koppelman. (nhs.uk)

The High Court rejected ground 3 of the U.S. appeal that the testimony of defense witness Prof. Michael Kopelman should not be given any weight because in his first report to the lower court he concealed the relationship Assange had with Stella Moris, and their two children. Baraitser had ruled that while he mislead the court it was humanly understandable given the risks to Moris and the children.

Those risks came from C.I.A. contractor UC Global, which was spying on his Assange and all of his visitors at the Ecuador embassy in London, including Moris, and Assange’s lawyers and doctors. The High Court made no mention of this, but concluded:

The High Court however severely criticized Kopelman for violating his oath to the court to tell the truth. “With all respect to the judge, we cannot agree with her implicit finding that Professor Kopelman’s failings could be excused or overlooked merely because his conduct could be viewed as ‘an understandable human response’”.

Assured By the Assurances

Despite this ruling, the High Court made clear that it based its entire decision to quash Assange’s discharge on accepting the U.S. assurances. It accepted the U.S. contention that “the risk that Mr Assange would be made subject to SAMs and/or would be detained at the ADX was ‘front and centre’ of the opinions of both [defense witnesses] Professor [Michael] Kopelman and Dr [Quinton] Deeley, and was the basis of the judge’s decision that extradition would be oppressive. Once that risk is removed by the assurances, the judge would have reached a different decision.” The court added: 

In other words, the High Court accepted that it would be Assange’s prison conditions that were the key factor to his risk of suicide, and that once the U.S. assurance removed that factor, Assange should be extradited. 

The C.I.A.

Neither the words “C.I.A.” nor “Central Intelligence Agency” appear anywhere in the High Court decision, even though Moris’ safety was at risk because of the C.I.A. and more significantly, because the C.I.A. had seriously considered kidnapping or killing Assange while he was in the embassy.

This plot was submitted as evidence in Assange’s September 2020 extradition hearing and in much greater detail at the High Court hearing at the end of October, when Assange lawyer Mark Summers QC referred to the Yahoo! News report about the C.I.A. plot. 

He argued that Assange could not be extradited to a state whose intelligence services had discussed a plot to kill him. At his conclusion, Summers recommended that the two high court judges read the Yahoo! report. If they did, they clearly ignored it. 

In fact, it rejected a new submission by Assange that the U.S. had committed “an abuse of the process because the USA was prompted by ulterior motives.” The High Court said: “The DJ [Baraitser] was satisfied that the federal prosecutors who brought the charges against Mr Assange acted in good faith.”

Reactions

There was no immediate reaction from the U.S. government to the High Court decision. 

WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said: “Julian’s life is once more under grave threat, and so is the right of journalists to publish material that governments and corporations find inconvenient.”

Moris, Assange’s fiancee, issued a statement after the ruling:

 

 

 

 

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

source:  https://consortiumnews.com/2021/12/10/assange-loses-high-court-allows-us-appeal-sends-assange-case-back-to-lower-court/

 

Video: Stella Moris @ 27.30secs, Craig Murray @ 24.30secs – Crowd protests outside RCJ London court against Julian Assange ruling

 

Joe Lauria on the Assange High Court ruling

 

 

Julian Assange can be extradited to the US, court rules – BBC

Julian Assange pictured leaving court in January 2020

Julian Assange has moved closer to being extradited from the UK to the US, after the US government won the latest stage in its extradition bid.

In January, a UK court ruled the Wikileaks founder could not be extradited due to concerns over his mental health.

He is wanted in the US over the publication of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts.

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source https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-59608641

 

FROM OUTSIDE THE ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE, LONDON, 10 Dec. 2021:

 

 

 

Posted by butlincat at 10:49 am  



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