UK: Lawyers and legal academics call on UK government to drop extradition case against Julian Assange

Hundreds of lawyers, legal associations and legal academics have signed an open letter to the UK government calling on it to drop the extradition case against Julian Assange, while lawyers for the Wikileaks founder have condemned the decision of US prosecutors to file new charges against him.


Some 169 lawyers and legal groups join calls for Julian Assange extradition to halt (Press Gazette, link):

"Lawyers and legal academics have called on the UK Government to end extradition proceedings against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and release him from prison.

Assange is fighting to avoid being sent to the US to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act and conspiracy to commit computer intrusion after the publication of hundreds of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011."

See the letter (pdf), which highlights:

  • Illegality of potential extradition to the US
    • Risk of being subjected to an unfair trial in the US
    • The political nature of the offence prohibits extradition
    • Risk of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the US
  • Violations of the freedom of the press and the right to know
  • Violations of the right to be free from torture, the right to health and the right to life
  • Violations of the right to a fair trial
    • Judicial conflicts of interest
    • Inequality of arms
    • Denial of the defendant's ability to properly follow proceedings and direct his legal team
    • Refusal to address mistreatment of the defendant

And: US decision to file new charges against Julian Assange ‘astonishing and potentially abusive’ (Computer Weekly, link):

"A decision by the US government to lodge new charges against Julian Assange was slammed as “astonishing and potentially abusive” by the WikiLeaks founder’s lawyer today.

(...)

Assange will be re-arrested on the first day of his hearing at the Old Bailey on 7 September under a new indictment drawn up on 12 August.

The charge sheet contains further allegations that he conspired with others to obtain US government information by encouraging computer hacking.

(...)

Florence Iveson, representing Assange, told the court that the WikiLeaks founder had not seen new material submitted by the US, including a 33-page affidavit.

“We think it is astonishing and potentially abusive, abuse of conduct, to add a new requirement at the 11th hour seeking to expand the case while we have spent a year preparing,” she said.

Iveson said the new material added a “considerable amount” of narrative background and collateral conduct to the earlier indictment against Assange.

She said the US had served evidence far too late, after the defence had already served its entire case."

 

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