Julian Assange’s fiancée: Britain’s no longer safe haven for free speech if he’s extradited

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A month in the past, I might get up in the course of the night time seized by a recurring nightmare: my little boys, Max, 22 months, and Gabriel, who’s three, had been orphaned. I used to be nonetheless right here however their father was not.

Their father is Julian Assange, the writer of WikiLeaks. At this time, that horrible nightmare is all too near turning into a actuality.

Julian has been on remand in Belmarsh jail in South-East London for nearly two years. 

He’s preventing a political extradition to america, the place he dangers being buried within the deepest, darkest nook of the US jail system for the remainder of his life. Julian embarrassed Washington and that is their revenge.

The nightmares got here to a sudden cease the week earlier than Christmas, when a groundswell of assist from all sides of the political spectrum referred to as for President Trump to pardon him.

A month ago, I would wake up in the middle of the night seized by a recurring nightmare: my little boys, Max, 22 months, and Gabriel, who is three, had been orphaned. I was still here but their father was not. Their father is Julian Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks. Today, that terrible nightmare is all too close to becoming a reality, writes Stella Morris (above with her sons)

A month in the past, I might get up in the course of the night time seized by a recurring nightmare: my little boys, Max, 22 months, and Gabriel, who’s three, had been orphaned. I used to be nonetheless right here however their father was not. Their father is Julian Assange, the writer of WikiLeaks. At this time, that horrible nightmare is all too near turning into a actuality, writes Stella Morris (above along with her sons)

A leaked audio recording of Julian speaking to the US State Division unmasked the trumped-up nature of the costs towards him. 

Main figures, from former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to Nobel Prize winners, comparable to human-rights campaigner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, have been calling for Julian’s freedom.

To this point, there was no pardon. However tomorrow, a British Justice of the Peace will resolve whether or not to order Julian’s extradition or throw out the US authorities’s request.

If Julian loses, I imagine that it will not solely be an unthinkable travesty however that the ruling would even be politically and legally disastrous for the UK.

Julian has been on remand in Belmarsh prison in South-East London for almost two years. He is fighting a political extradition to the United States, where he risks being buried in the deepest, darkest corner of the US prison system for the rest of his life. Julian embarrassed Washington and this is their revenge. (Above, Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017)

Julian has been on remand in Belmarsh jail in South-East London for nearly two years. He’s preventing a political extradition to america, the place he dangers being buried within the deepest, darkest nook of the US jail system for the remainder of his life. Julian embarrassed Washington and that is their revenge. (Above, Assange on the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017)

That’s as a result of Julian’s case is just not about what some individuals would have you ever suppose it’s about.

His function in founding the WikiLeaks web site is well-known and it’s honest to say Julian has angered many authorities and institution figures around the globe. WikiLeaks has revealed hundreds of delicate categorized paperwork, many from the US navy.

But Julian has been appearing in the identical means as another journalist would in trying to carry the highly effective to account.

President Obama’s administration realised this, and understood that charging Julian would require them to prosecute worldwide media retailers. 

In any case, newspapers, web sites and TV stations had revealed considerably the identical revelations as WikiLeaks. That’s the reason, on the finish of his time period in workplace, Obama freed WikiLeaks’s US Military Intelligence supply, whistleblower Chelsea Manning, from jail.

With Trump, nevertheless, the temper has modified dramatically and below his administration, journalistic practices have been pursued as crimes. 

WikiLeaks and Julian have been accused of ‘endangering nationwide safety’, however US prosecutors admit they haven’t any proof to assist claims that WikiLeaks publications induced bodily hurt to anybody. Maybe that explains why their techniques have turn into more and more determined.

Throughout Julian’s extradition listening to on the Outdated Bailey in September, the court docket heard proof that CIA contractors have been plotting to kill him with poison whereas he was within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Brokers-turned-whistleblowers, who have been granted anonymity by the court docket because of their worry of reprisals, additionally admitted focusing on our then six-month-old child to steal his DNA. 

They informed the court docket that that they had put in hidden microphones to spy on Julian’s solicitors’ conferences. The places of work of his legal professionals have been additionally damaged into.

It may appear unthinkable {that a} British court docket would give its stamp of approval to such rampant, unlawful actions by the US. 

His role in founding the WikiLeaks website is well known and it is fair to say Julian has angered many government and establishment figures around the world. WikiLeaks has published thousands of sensitive classified documents, many from the US military. Yet Julian has been acting in the same way as any other journalist would in attempting to hold the powerful to account. (Above, Assange arriving at Westminster Magistrates' Court in 2019)

His function in founding the WikiLeaks web site is well-known and it’s honest to say Julian has angered many authorities and institution figures around the globe. WikiLeaks has revealed hundreds of delicate categorized paperwork, many from the US navy. But Julian has been appearing in the identical means as another journalist would in trying to carry the highly effective to account. (Above, Assange arriving at Westminster Magistrates’ Court docket in 2019)

It may appear equally unthinkable {that a} man who was practising journalism on this nation, completely legally based on UK regulation, may very well be tried in a overseas land and probably jailed for all times.

However that’s what would occur if the UK decides to extradite Julian. It will rewrite the foundations of what it’s permissible to publish right here. In a single day, it will chill free and open debate about abuses by our personal authorities and by many overseas ones, too.

In impact, overseas international locations may merely challenge an extradition request saying that UK journalists, or Fb customers for that matter, have violated their censorship legal guidelines.

Reporters With out Borders and the Nationwide Union of Journalists have stated that so long as Julian stays in jail dealing with extradition, the UK is just not a secure place for journalists and publishers to work.

The press freedoms we cherish in Britain are meaningless if they are often criminalised and suppressed by regimes in Russia or Ankara or by prosecutors in Alexandria, Virginia. 

If Westminster Magistrates’ Court docket accepts the US arguments tomorrow, each different nation can use them, too. It will place an not possible burden on you, me, everybody, to not violate overseas censorship legal guidelines.

International locations comparable to Azerbaijan are already lecturing the UK about press freedom due to Julian’s incarceration. It has turn into a straightforward technique to rating low cost political factors towards Britain. ‘What about Assange?’ is the right comeback to criticism of human-rights abuses.

The US-UK Extradition Treaty, a relic of the Blair period, is partly guilty. It grants the US privileges the UK doesn’t have: the US can reject an extradition request, because it has finished to stop Anne Sacoolas from dealing with justice after being charged with inflicting the demise by harmful driving of 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dunn following a street crash exterior a US navy base in Northamptonshire. 

There isn’t any prima facie proof requirement and US claims can’t even be cross-examined in court docket.

Nonetheless, you would possibly say, as soon as extradited, Julian would face a good trial. You would possibly assume that he would, for instance, be allowed to exclude hostile jurors. You would possibly assume that he may defend himself by arguing that it was his obligation to show battle crimes, torture and state illegality, and that the general public had a proper to know. You would possibly assume he can be handled equally based on the regulation. 

However you’d be flawed. I imagine the decision is a foregone conclusion.

In Alexandria, there’s a particular rule that jury members can’t be excluded as a result of they work for the federal government. Julian’s case may have been tried elsewhere within the US however prosecutors selected to attempt it there, a state that homes US intelligence headquarters.

The court docket complicated is simply 15 miles from CIA headquarters. The state is populated by staff of the very sector that Julian uncovered, individuals who have sworn oaths of allegiance to defend America towards all enemies.

The laws below which Julian is charged doesn’t permit a public curiosity defence. The US doesn’t dispute that what WikiLeaks revealed was of the best public curiosity – it merely says it’s irrelevant and Julian ought to go to jail regardless.

The Trump administration has argued that as a result of Julian is just not a US citizen, he wouldn’t get pleasure from constitutional free-speech rights.

This alone ought to imply {that a} UK choose throws out the extradition request. To permit it will expose everybody to the danger of discrimination in a overseas court docket on the premise of nationality.

Within the US, I imagine Julian would face a sure and monstrously unjust conviction.

You would possibly suppose that his case is by some means particular. It’s not. So far as the precedent is worried, I imagine Julian would possibly as effectively be a British journalist working for The Mail on Sunday.

The extradition considerations the US and Julian immediately, however subsequent time it may very well be Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Russia demanding that we ship journalists to face trial of their courts.

The precedent would make political extraditions permissible. The accepted scope of the Official Secrets and techniques Act would radically broaden to match the Trump administration’s interpretation of the 1917 Espionage Act, below which Julian has been charged on 17 counts.

Even re-reporting data that another person has already revealed can be an offence.

Extraditing Julian can be so manifestly unjust that it appears not possible. However it isn’t. It’s exactly at instances like these when our rights are most simply taken away from us, whereas we’re distracted with main international points comparable to Brexit and Covid.

Tomorrow’s ruling comes simply 4 days into Brexit. It may very well be thought to be a metaphor for Brexit itself: will Britain’s values assert themselves towards exterior interference, or will Britain and its individuals be pushed round by others?

It doesn’t matter what occurs, we’ll proceed to combat for what we all know is true.

It’s a combat for our household, to provide our sons the best to develop up with their father. However it is usually a combat for justice and a combat for everybody’s proper to stay in a free society.



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