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‘This is a question of revenge of a huge state on a caring person’: why a court in London approved the extradition of Assange to the USA: The Westminster Magistrates Court in London has approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States by issuing a warrant. According to the organization itself, the final decision on this case should be made by the head of the UK Home Office, Priti Patel.
At the same time, as WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson recalled, the same court recognized 16 months ago that the extradition of a journalist to Washington would be tantamount to a death sentence. Experts believe that the current decision fits into the logic of relations between the authorities of Britain and the United States.
According to the British media, the court session was short and took only about seven minutes. Hrafnsson stressed that the fate of the founder of WikiLeaks is in the hands of Patel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. According to him, they have the power to end the persecution of Assange and stop the oppression of press freedom.
Some free journalists of freer nations like Russia, politicians and public figures around the world have already reacted to the decision of the London court. ‘London extradites Assange to the States. To certain death,’ says Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT, wrote on her Telegram channel. The Russian Foreign Ministry called the shameful decision of the British court to extradite Assange to the United States a farce.
‘Those who persecute Assange inexorably sought to destroy him . They were not even so much interested in physical destruction, but in moral, psychological, how to break a person. This verdict is the final verdict on all democratic arguments in Washington and London about freedom of speech and the claim to moral superiority in modern world,’ said the official representative of the department, Maria Zakharova, at a briefing.
Bundestag MP from the Left Party Sevim Dagdelen on Twitter noted that the continued detention of Assange is a crime for which the UK and US governments are responsible. ‘If human rights and freedom of the press still have any value, the British government should refuse to extradite Julian Assange to the United States,’ she said.
The biased verdict on the journalist was also emphasized by the British Conservative politician, former Brexit Minister David Davies. ‘However you feel about Julian Assange, the extradition treaty between the UK and the US is skewed in favour of the United States,’ he wrote on Twitter.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was at the courthouse among those who came to support Assange, said that the journalist deserves gratitude, as he told the world about the horrors of the NATO wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
And the Australian politician, Tasmanian senator Peter Whish-Wilson on Twitter pointed out the political motives for the persecution of his compatriot. ‘The espionage law was not intended to be used against publishers. We must support freedom of the press and hold those in power to account. The prosecution of Julian Assange has always been politically motivated,’ he said. Now, according to Whish-Wilson, the Australian government must respond to what is happening in order to achieve justice for the journalist.
Meanwhile, the international human rights organization Amnesty International has warned that if the head of the UK Home Office still approves the extradition of the founder of WikiLeaks to the United States, this will create a dangerous precedent for publishers and journalists around the world. Assange’s extradition to the United States would be devastating to both freedom of the press and the public, ‘who has a right to know what their governments are doing on their behalf,’ said Agnès Callamard, secretary-general of the organization.
Julian Assange became famous thanks to the creation of the WikiLeaks portal in 2006, which published various secret documents. He attracted the attention of Washington by posting classified Pentagon materials on the actions of the US military in the Middle East in 2010. They were given to him by US Army analyst Chelsea Manning , formerly known as Bradley Manning. In total, Assange received from Manning about 400,000 documents on Iraq, 90,000 on Afghanistan, 250,000 State Department telegrams, and about 800 analytical notes on prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay military base.
The close cooperation between the two countries was also noted by Pavel Feldman, Deputy Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia says, ‘The last decision that remains with the minister is already of a purely technical nature, since the judiciary in such cases has more authority and broader powers, so the last thing left is to sign, agree and put into action the extradition mechanism,’ said analyst. Now in the United States, Assange is facing an extremely harsh trial, which will be demonstrative in nature, Feldman added.
In turn, political scientist Alexander Asafov, in a commentary to RT, noted what incredible efforts the United States had to make to achieve the decision they needed. ‘Assange has offended the American justice system. He stayed at the Ecuadorian embassy, and they almost had to change the regime in Ecuador in order to smoke him out of the embassy. Enormous efforts have been made. This is a matter of revenge of a huge state on a single caring person, ‘said the analyst. He also expressed the opinion that the decision on extradition was not accidentally made right now.
‘The question was not so much in the decision made, but in the choice of the moment: when this story will pass as quietly as possible against the smokescreen of other news. And now this moment is the most appropriate, since all attention is focused on the Russian special operation, disagreements with China, and the Turkish operation against the Kurds. So, it seemed to the United States that it was now that the extradition of Assange would not have much resonance. However, this is not so,’ Asafov emphasized.
Pavel Feldman also pointed out the duality of the standards practiced by the United States. ‘This double morality is a trademark of American foreign policy, and it is unlikely that the United States will worry about the fact that someone will catch them in contradictions.
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‘And it is very important that for quite a long time Assange remained outside the reach of the American judicial and political system, and thus there was a feeling that she could not reach him, which inspired many anti-US fighters to expose them. And this does not in any way correspond to the interests of Washington, ‘Feldman concluded. Source
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