Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here

8 January 2021

Facebook   Twitter

Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

'Free Assange' campaigners at the Durham miners' gala in 2019 , photo by Paul Mattsson

'Free Assange' campaigners at the Durham miners' gala in 2019 , photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Judge rules against Julian Assange's extradition but refuses bail

Niall Mulholland, CWI

The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, won a partial victory in his long battle to avoid extradition from Britain to the US. District Judge Baraister, at the Old Bailey court, ruled earlier this week against Assange's removal to face criminal charges over classified US secret documents leaked in 2010.

However, the judge ruled on Wednesday 6 January to refuse Assange bail, meaning he will remain imprisoned in Belmarsh high-security prison in London. Assange's defence team argued that Belmarsh prison has high levels of covid infections and that Assange's mental health is deteriorating. His legal defence said they will contest the bail ruling in the High Court.

The US has said that it will appeal the court's decision not to extradite Assange. He faces charges of computer hacking and violating the US's 1917 Espionage Act, which could mean a sentence of 175 years in prison.

Released just over a decade ago, the WikiLeaks revelations shed light on thousands of cases of state torture, war crimes (in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere), state surveillance, corruption and human rights abuses by the US and other imperialist states and their client regimes. For the major powers, the WikiLeaks actions were a very unwelcome and highly embarrassing exposure of the true nature of the capitalist state and imperialism's 'war on terror', and a serious blow against their authority and prestige.

Establishment's vengeance

For years, the US establishment has sought vengeance against Assange and 'whistleblowers' such as Chelsea Manning. The capitalist ruling classes want to forcibly stop or muzzle any serious investigative journalism into the murky and illegal actions and human rights abuses of capitalist states, and the sordid actions of big business.

Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 after the UK's Supreme Court ruled that he could be extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations (the charges were later dropped). Assange's legal defence argued, at the time, that this was a ploy to enable his extradition to the US to face trial for the leaks.

Assange remained in small confines in the Ecuadorian embassy for seven years until a change of regime in Ecuador saw the betrayal of his right to asylum. Assange was forcibly removed from the embassy by police in April 2019.

After serving 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail, Assange has been imprisoned in Belmarsh prison, despite serious mental and physical health deterioration, pending the US extradition case. Medical and legal experts, and UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, have called for Assange's immediate release from degrading and dangerous confinement and "psychological torture".

While Judge Baraister stopped Assange's extradition to the US on the "substantial" grounds that American prison conditions where he would probably be held in near-total isolation could "risk that Mr Assange will commit suicide", she did not accept the defence lawyers' arguments that the US case against him is politically motivated. The judge, in effect, endorsed the US administration's undemocratic attacks against investigative journalists and freedom of speech and other democratic rights.

The US administration persecutes Assange under the US Espionage Act to get around the rights enshrined in the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The US Democratic National Committee began legal action in April 2018 against WikiLeaks.

Release Assange - workers' movement defend freedom of speech!

The Committee for a Workers' International (CWI - which the Socialist Party in England & Wales is affiliated to) supports the call for the immediate release of Julian Assange and the dropping of all charges against him. We demand an end to his cruel persecution by the Republican administration in the US, and by British authorities, as well as an end to the vindictive state actions against courageous whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

It remains to be seen if the Biden presidency continues or not with this inhumane prosecution.

Freedom of the press and free speech were some of the precious rights won by generations of working-class people fighting against tyranny and oppression. These and other democratic rights must be strenuously defended, and in many cases refought for, by the international workers' movement.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 






Related links:

US:

triangleEngland football team

triangleYouth Fight for Jobs is back

triangle"It's great to be back": Come to a Socialist Party in-person meeting

triangleRising against a rigged and rotten system

triangleReaders' comments

Prison:

triangleWomen and the criminal 'injustice' system

triangleBobby Sands - Nothing but an Unfinished Song

triangleOne rule for them, and another for us

triangleFree Siyanda Mngaza

Wikileaks:

triangleNews in brief

triangleAssange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

triangleTrump victory: Failure of the Democrat establishment

State:

triangleDefend the triple lock - Fight to end poverty pensions

triangleGerman Greens: The image and reality

Article dated 8 January 2021

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

MEMBER RESOURCES

Pay in Fighting Fund

Pay in paper and book sales

Leaflets

Bulk book orders

New member submission

WHAT'S ON

triangle26 Jul Leeds Socialist Party: Brexit so far and in the next period

triangle27 Jul Caerphilly and RCT Socialist Party: What is Marxism?

triangle29 Jul Southampton Socialist Party: Marxist economics

More...


The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party

NHS

Covid

LGBTQ+

Workplace news

International

News

Campaigns

Readers' opinion

Subscribespacer|spacerebook / Kindlespacer|spacerPDF versionspacer|spacerText / Printspacer|spacer1142 onlinespacer|spacerBack issuesspacer|spacer Audio files


'The Struggle for World Socialism' book launch

More videos ...

What We Stand For
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Platform setting: =

Desktop version