In Assange Case, British Judge Rejects US Government’s Extradition Request

NEWS, 4 Jan 2021

Kevin Gosztola | The Dissenter – TRANSCEND Media Service

“It would be oppressive to extradite [Assange] to the United States of America,” Judge Vanessa Baraitser stated.

4 Jan 2021 – Citing harsh federal prison conditions in the United States, a British district court judge rejected the United States government’s extradition request against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser found Assange suffers from a “recurrent depressive disorder.” Although he functions at a high level, he suffers from autism as well.

She accepted that he would likely be imprisoned at a supermax prison in the U.S. under special administrative measures (SAMs) and would find a way to commit suicide.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
Photo by Cancillería Ecuador

“I am satisfied that, in these harsh conditions, Mr. Assange’s mental health would deteriorate causing him to commit suicide with the ‘single minded determination’ of his autism spectrum disorder,” Baraitser declared. “I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America.”

The US government will submit an appeal with the High Court of Justice, and he will have an opportunity to apply for bail from Belmarsh high-security prison, where he has been detained since April 2019.

Assange was charged in 2019 with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer intrusion that contains elements of an Espionage Act offense.

A superseding indictment in 2020 contained new general allegations that targeted his speech at conferences and the role he allegedly played in helping NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leave Hong Kong.

The charges criminalized common newsgathering practices, including the receipt and publication of secret government information. Press freedom organizations throughout the world condemned the charges.

Baraitser accepted virtually all of the allegations by the U.S. government as reasonable, which was likely alarming to all press freedom organizations following the case.

She even contended a U.S. court would protect Assange’s due process and free speech rights. But because of the “real risk” that he will be held at ADX Florence in Colorado after his trial, she declined to grant the request.

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, “Unauthorized Disclosure.”



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One Response to “In Assange Case, British Judge Rejects US Government’s Extradition Request”

  1. rosemerry says:

    The poisonous Baraitser finally made one tiny good move while ensuring that Assange and journalism were not really free. He needs to be freed at once (NOT letting the USA “appeal” while he remains incarcerated) and allowed to try to live and recover his health with Stella and their two boys. Pretending those charges were justified from the start,( plus grabbing Julian from the Ecuadorean embassy after Trump paid Lenin Moreno a bribe which has now given an IMF loan to weigh down the country in debt) makes the whole process political and cruel. Baraitser claims the charges are not political or related to freedom of speech. Obviously lies.