Process as punishment in Assange case

A Feb. 22 demonstration on the Lake Street Bridge to support Julian Assange
(Photo/Mike Madden)


A hearing in London to determine whether Julian Assange can appeal his extradition order concluded on Wednesday, Feb. 21.
Assange, whose health is deteriorating, was not well enough to attend the proceedings in person or by video link. He will continue to languish in Belmarsh Prison, also known as “Britain’s Guantanamo Bay,” while the two judges who presided at the hearing deliberate. A decision is not expected for weeks.
According to a United Nations working group, Assange has now been held arbitrarily for more than 13 years. Outside the Royal Courts of Justice this week, his partner Stella said, “What happened to Navalny can happen to Julian.”
Seventeen of the 18 counts against Assange are under the 1917 Espionage Act. But he is not a spy. He did not receive remuneration from any foreign government. The classified documents he obtained and published – the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diary, the Guantanamo Files, and Cablegate – were in the public interest. They revealed war crimes and other serious wrongdoing by the United States, which now seeks to imprison him for 175 years.
The use of the Espionage Act against a publisher is an unprecedented threat to press freedom. Coupled with the prosecutorial misconduct the government has engaged in – violations of attorney-client privilege, CIA plots to kidnap or assassinate the defendant, and suborning perjury of an Icelandic witness – the case against Assange should have been dropped years ago.
Twin Cities Assange Defense recognizes that the government is pursuing vengeance, not justice. We will continue our advocacy until Julian Assange is free.


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