The judgement is concerning, but we are nonetheless delighted, writes Craig Murray, who aside from court officials was the only person in the public gallery on Monday.
Monday was a long and tiring day, with the startlingly unexpected decision to block Julian Assange’s extradition. The judgement is in fact very concerning, in that it accepted all of the prosecution’s case on the right of the U.S. government to prosecute publishers worldwide of U.S. official secrets under the Espionage Act. The judge also stated specifically that the U.K. Extradition Act of 2003 deliberately permits extradition for political offences. These points need to be addressed. But for now, we are all delighted at the ultimate decision that extradition should be blocked.
The decision was based equally on two points; the appalling conditions in U.S. supermax prisons, and the effect of those conditions on Julian specifically given his history of depression. The media has concentrated on the mental health aspect, and given insufficient attention to the explicit condemnation of the inhumanity of the U.S. prison system.
Full speech following Julian's historic victory in court today. https://t.co/LkiSl38nqm
— Stella Moris #pardonAssange (@StellaMoris1) January 4, 2021
I was the only person physically present in the public gallery inside the court, having been nominated by John Shipton to represent the family, aside from two court officials. I am quite sure that I again noted magistrate Vanessa Baraitser have a catch in her throat when discussing the inhumane conditions in U.S. supermax prisons, the lack of human contact, and specifically the fact that inmates are kept in total isolation in a small cage, and are permitted one hour exercise a day in total isolation in another small cage. I noted her show emotion the same way when discussing the al-Masri torture evidence during the trial, and she seemed similarly affected here.
Julian looked well and alert; he showed no emotion at the judgement, but entered into earnest discussion with his lawyers. The U.S. government indicated they will probably appeal the verdict, and a bail hearing has been deferred until Wednesday to decide whether he will be released from Belmarsh pending the appeal – which court sources tell me is likely to be held in April in the High Court. I should be very surprised if Julian is not released on Wednesday pending the appeal. I shall now be staying here for that bail hearing.
Here is a brief video giving more detail.
Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.
His coverage is entirely dependent on reader support. Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.
This article is from CraigMurray.org.uk.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
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