Assange’s lawyer defends freedom of information to prevent his extradition to the US

Julian Assange’s lawyer defended freedom of information on Tuesday. at the trial in London about the last resort of the founder of WikiLeaks to avoid his extradition to the USA, where he is accused of espionage.

Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s lawyer, also spoke of “political motivations” in the extradition request, which would have to be decided in a trial that began without the presence of Assange, who felt unwell and was unable to attend the hearing, according to his lawyer. Two judges will consider this in a hearing that will conclude on WednesdayAssange’s final appeal against his surrender to the United States, who wants to convict him for the massive disclosure of confidential documents.

“My client is being prosecuted for the normal journalistic practice of obtaining and publishing classified information, information that is true and of obvious and important public interest,” Fitzgerald told the High Court of Justice in London.

Another defense attorney, Mark Summers, spoke of a U.S. plan, according to a 2021 Yahoo News article. the killing or kidnapping of Julian Assange in 2017. The U.S. government’s lawyer will defend the case for the extradition request on Wednesday, but in his written conclusions, James Lewis accused Julian Assange of “attacking strategic and national security interests” and “endangering the lives of individuals.”

His wife Stella Assange told the BBC on Monday that her husband would “no longer have the opportunity to appeal” in the UK if he lost this hearing. However, Assange could have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) as a last resort, his supporters said in December.

If Assange is successful on Wednesday, he would face another hearing in the UK, on a date yet to be determined, which would have to confirm that it will not be delivered. In the days before the trial, his wife had warned about the 52-year-old Australian’s fragile health.

“His health is deteriorating both physically and mentally. His life is in danger every day in prison and if he is extradited he will die,” he said on Thursday.

Assange is accused in the US of having published more than 700,000 confidential documents since 2010 about the North American country’s military and diplomatic activities, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. If extradited, he could face up to 175 years in prison in the USA.

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The founder of WikiLeaks was arrested by British police in 2019. After seven years in prison at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations, the charges were later dropped. The Australian has been in the high-security Belmarsh prison east of London for four years.

In January 2021, a British court initially rejected the US extradition request. The North American appeal resulted in December 2021 The British justice system overturned the initial decision, clearing the way for his extradition. Assange’s appeal was unsuccessful and in April 2022 a British court approved the extradition, which was accepted by the British government two months later.

In early February, the UN special rapporteur on torture, Australian lawyer Alice Jill Edwards, called on the British government to “suspend the pending extradition of Julian Assange.”

“He has a long-standing history of periodic depressive disorder and is at risk of suicide,” Edwards said.

In his opinion, “the risk that he will be held in solitary confinement despite his poor mental health and that his sentence could be disproportionate raises questions about whether extradition would be compatible with the UK’s international human rights obligations.”

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