Posted by Sam Fenny - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 21 May 2024

Julian Assange’s five-year battle against extradition to the US continues as he WINS last-ditch legal battle to lodge appeal

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s five-year battle against extradition to the US for espionage charges continues after he won a last-ditch legal battle to appeal.

There were gasps of relief from the Australian’s wife and other supporters in the High Court as Dame Victoria Sharp said she and Mr Justice Johnson had decided they were not satisfied with assurances given by US prosecutors.

The judges had last month dismissed most of Assange’s legal arguments but said he would be able to bring an appeal on three grounds unless the US provided ‘satisfactory assurances.’

These were that Assange would be protected by and allowed to rely on the First Amendment, that his trial would not be prejudiced by his nationality and that the death penalty would not be imposed.

Dame Victoria told the court they were not satisfied Assange was guaranteed protection under the First Amendment.

Speaking outside court, Assange’s wife Stella said the judges had made the ‘right decision’, adding: ‘He should be given the Nobel prize and he should walk freely with the sand beneath his feet. He should be able to swim in the sea again. Free Assange.’

Delivering the ruling, Dame Victoria told the court: ‘We have carefully considered the submissions made in writing and orally.

‘First, in respect of the appeal under section 103 of the Extradition Act, we have decided to give leave to appeal on grounds four and five.’

Assange’s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald KC, said he was satisfied with assurances that if the WikiLeaks founder was extradited and convicted he would not face the death penalty.

But lawyers for the US said that the fact that Assange is accused of illegally obtaining and disseminating confidential defence information means he was not guaranteed protection by the First Amendment regardless of nationality.

In written submissions, he said: ‘The position of the US prosecutor is that no-one, neither US citizens nor foreign citizens, are entitled to rely on the First Amendment in relation to publication of illegally obtained national defence information giving the names of innocent sources to their grave and imminent risk of harm.’

This principle applies to both US and non-US citizens irrespective of their nationality, he added.

The US has provided an assurance that if extradited, Assange ‘will be entitled to the full panoply of due process trial rights, including the right to raise, and seek to rely upon, the first amendment as a defence.’

Assange’s wife, Stella, has previously dismissed this pledge as ‘weasel words.’

The ruling will no doubt increase calls in Assange’s native Australia for the government to intervene on his behalf.

More than a hundred supporters gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice to wave banners emblazoned with logos including ‘If Assange goes, free speech goes with him.’

Assange declined to attend the hearing but Mrs Assange sat next to his father John Shipton in the well of court 4.

Read More: Julian Assange’s five-year battle against extradition 

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