WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange’s likely final UK legal challenge to stop his extradition to the United States will be held at public hearing in London’s High Court, on 20-21 February.Two judges will review an earlier ruling review the decision by High Court judge Justice Jonathan Swift made on 6 June 2023 to reject Assange’s plea against his extradition. If extradited, the WikiLeaks’ founder will stand trial before a US federal grand jury on 18 charges that carry a combined prison sentence of 175 years. Of the 18 charges levelled against him, 17 are under the US Espionage Act
Home Secretary Priti Patel approved his extradition on 17 June 2022. The Home Office said that British courts had concluded his extradition would not be incompatible with his human rights, and that he would be treated appropriately.
“The two-day hearing may be the final chance for Julian Assange to prevent his extradition to the United States,” WikiLeaks’ said in a statement.
Campaigners believe that an application to the European Court of Human Rights against extradition remains a possibility. Assange has been imprisoned without charges since April 2019, in Belmarsh high-security prison in south east London.
Immediately after the court dates was announced, the Assange Defence campaign announced a mass protest at the court on the days of the hearing at 8.30 a.m. They welcome all those who support press freedom to join them in London: https://assangedefense.org/press-release/julian-assanges-final-appeal-to-be-held-in-uk-high-court-20-21-february-2024/ .
Supporters have also organised a public rally at Conway Hall, London from 6.30 p.m. on Thursday 18 January. Speakers include Stella Assange, and Yorkshire MPs David Davis and Richard Burgon: https://actionnetwork.org/events/the-fight-to-free-julian-assange?link_id=1&can
CIA loses motion to reject lawsuit
Meanwhile a case brought before a New York federal court by two journalists and two lawyers against the CIA moved forward after a federal judge turned down a bid by the spy agency to reject the case. Manhattan-based U.S. District Court Judge John Koeltl ruled last month that four Americans who visited Assange while he was living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London several years ago can proceed with their suit over allegations that a security contractor (UC Global) gave the CIA data copied from their phones during those visits. The suit follows allegations in reports by the Spanish newspaper “El Pais” that a security firm at the Ecuadorian embassy gave the CIA information about Assange’s visitors. The data was gleaned from hidden cameras and microphones and from scanning their phones while they were meeting with the WikiLeaks founder: https://english.elpais.com/international/2023-12-22/a-spanish-company-and-the-cia-found-guilty-of-violating-rights-of-julian-assanges-visitors.html
Shortly after the decision was announced lead attorney Richard Roth of The Roth Law Firm, along with plaintiffs Margaret Ratner Kunstler, a civil rights lawyer, and media lawyer Deborah Hrbek, held a Zoom press conference to discuss the victory in their lawsuit against the CIA for allegedly violating U.S. Fourth Amendment rights. The case will now proceed to the next stage later this year.
You can view the press conference at: https://consortiumnews.com/2023/12/22/watch-cia-loses-motion-to-dismiss-lawsuit-against-it/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=bb4bf41b-b578-45f5-a55f-6ebc70310d57 .
Bachground: Kunstler v. Central Intelligence Agency is a civil rights lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency, former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Undercover Global S.L., and David Morales Guillen filed by a group of US lawyers and journalists associated with Julian Assange. The lawsuit alleged that the CIA violated their constitutional rights by recording their conversations with Assange and copying their devices.