Julian Assange's Final Stand: High-Stakes Hearings Begin for Extradition Battle

Two days of hearings begining on Tuesday at London's High Court of Justice may be Julian Assange's last opportunity to evade extradition; according to his wife, it may be his only chance to survive.

Stella Assange claims in an interview with the BBC that her husband, the founder of WikiLeaks, is in terrible mental and physical health due to his incarceration in the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison since 2019. She further claims that her husband would not be able to withstand extradition to the United States, where he could be subject to a maximum sentence of 175 years under the Espionage Act. The outcome of this lawsuit will basically decide his fate, she adds.

She states that if he is unsuccessful in the High Court case, there is no way for him to appeal "in this jurisdiction" any further; nevertheless, an emergency injunction from the European Court of Human Rights may be considered.

The fate of Assange hangs in the balance; a loss this week might result in his extradition to the United States before the European court can take any action, but a loss could also cause the government to prolong the case, according to the AP. According to Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, "this process has been defined by protracted and creeping time periods." Process punishment is what we call it. Clearly, the length of time is an intentional effort to frustrate and punish him.

Assange, a citizen of Australia, is facing charges of disclosing secret US military secrets. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Marjorie Taylor Greene are among the many US legislators who have joined the Australian government in requesting that the US abandon the prosecution. The "effort to penalize Assange for revealing the truth is an assault on journalism itself," says journalist James Ball, who was a colleague of Assange's at WikiLeaks, and who has refused to comply with the FBI.

He elaborates by saying, "It is clear that there is a generational prejudice against internet-based journalism since none of those major colleagues who published his material—the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel—are being prosecuted."


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