Thursday, May 30, 2024

UK Amendable to Extraditing Julian Assange if U.S. Promises Not to Kill Him

'Biden is actually considering the death penalty for journalism? Yes, he is...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The UK High Court delayed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s pending extradition to the U.S. on Tuesday, ruling that the U.S. government must provide several assurances about how he’ll be treated before shipping him to America.

The U.S. reportedly must guarantee by April 16 that Assange can raise a First Amendment defense when he stands trial for violating the Espionage Act, that he’ll have the same right as U.S. citizens, and that he’ll never face the death penalty. The charges that Assange violated the Espionage Act stem from him publishing leaked records about U.S. war crimes.

While some of Assange’s supporters saw Tuesday’s ruling as a partial victory, conservative commentator Tucker Carlson was flabbergasted that the UK is even considering extraditing Assange for what amounts to journalism.

“The fact that any of this is even in question is shocking. Biden is actually considering the death penalty for journalism? Yes, he is,” Carlson said. “Where are all the ‘liberals’ at CNN, NBC News and the Washington Post? Totally shameful.”

If the U.S. agrees to the UK’s conditions for extradition, Assange could immediately be put on a plane and shipped to America. Assange can ask the European Court of Human Rights to block his extradition, but supporters worry he could be put on a plane to the U.S. before that happens, because the British government has already signed an extradition order.

The 52-year-old Australian has been indicted on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse over his website’s publication of a trove of classified U.S. documents almost 15 years ago. American prosecutors allege Assange encouraged and helped U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks published, putting lives at risk. as been too ill to even attend court hearings.

A U.K. district court judge rejected the U.S. extradition request in 2021 on the grounds that Assange was likely to kill himself if held under harsh U.S. prison conditions. Higher courts overturned that decision after getting assurances from the U.S. about his treatment. The British government signed an extradition order in June 2022.

If extradited, Assange faces a sentence of 175 years for exposing war crimes committed by the United States in the Afghan and Iraq wars.

Meanwhile, the FBI is reportedly still investigating Assange. Journalist James Ball wrote in Rolling Stone last July that Biden’s Justice Department and the FBI are pursing “vague threats and pressure tactics” to pressure British journalists to cooperate with their prosecution of Assange.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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