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27 Mar, 2024 16:45

Still time for UK to ‘do the right thing’ – Stella Assange

The persecution of the her husband has been political from the start, the lawyer has said
Still time for UK to ‘do the right thing’ – Stella Assange

The British legal system has been “hijacked” by the US in order to go after WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, his wife Stella has said, adding that it is still possible for British courts to make things right.

The High Court in London ruled on Tuesday to postpone Julian Assange’s extradition hearing pending “assurances” from the US government that he would not be exposed to torture or the death penalty.

“This is a political case,” said Ms. Assange, who is also her husband’s attorney. “I think it’s very obvious to anyone who looks at this and the bizarre turns that this case has taken.” 

The case “should have been thrown out from the very beginning,” she added. “I still retain some hope that the UK courts will stop this abusive persecution of Julian in which the legal system has been hijacked for political purposes.”

“I think there is still time for the UK courts to do the right thing and stop this.”

“Frankly, I expected the UK court to allow evidence… of the murder plots against Julian to be heard, but they didn’t,” Ms. Assange explained, referring to 2021 allegations in the media that the CIA had plotted to kill or kidnap the publisher while he was living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

“On the other hand, what they have identified is that Julian remains exposed to the death penalty and that the freedom of the press issues are at the heart of this case and has also picked up on the fact that the United States has said that it intends to discriminate against Julian on the basis of his nationality,” she added. 

Because Assange is an Australian citizen, the US government has argued that the First Amendment of the American constitution – protecting the freedom of speech and the press – does not apply in his case.

Assange has been charged with violating the US Espionage Act, because in 2010 WikiLeaks published classified diplomatic and military documents pertaining to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The documents were leaked to Assange by a US Army private, but the government claimed the publisher had conspired to hack Pentagon computers.

Suspecting that a Swedish claim of alleged sexual assault was a ploy to get him arrested and extradited to the US, Assange sought asylum in Ecuador in 2012. The UK blocked him from leaving the Latin American country’s embassy in London, however, trapping him in improvised living conditions for almost seven years. In April 2019, after Ecuador revoked his asylum, Assange was dragged out of the embassy and jailed in the Belmarsh maximum-security prison in London, where he has remained ever since.