UK High Court Allows US to Appeal Ban on Assange Extradition

The High Court in London on Wednesday accepted the U.S. application to appeal the Jan. 4 Magistrate Court’s judgement that Julian Assange should not be extradited because of his health and the condition of U.S. prisons.

The Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in the City of Westminster, where the London High Court is based. (Sjiong, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

The High Court in London on Wednesday said that the United States can go ahead with its appeal of Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser’s Jan. 4 decision not to allow the extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the United States, WikiLeaks said in a tweet.

Baraitser had ruled that Assange’s physical and mental health put him at high risk of suicide if he should be sent to a U.S. prison to stand trial on charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and of espionage in his work as a journalist publishing government secrets revealing evidence of state crimes.

According to WikiLeaks, the court agreed to list the U.S. appeal for a hearing, but permission to appeal was granted only on “narrow, technical grounds.” WikiLeaks said the U.S. cannot appeal Baraitser’s factual findings in regard to Assange’s health, the only reason in addition to U.S. prison conditions given by her to deny his extradition. Baraitser agreed with the U.S. on every other point in her judgement. 

Though Baraitser said she was discharging Assange she then denied him bail and threw him back into Belmarsh Prison where he has languished since April 2019. He will remain there until the appeal is heard. No date for a hearing has yet been set.

The U.S. Department of Justice has not yet commented on the matter. The High Court has not posted its decision on its website.

A WikiLeaks release said:

“The UK High Court has notified the parties involved in Julian Assange’s extradition case that the United States government’s appeal will be listed for a hearing.

The decision by the High Court simply gives permission for the U.S. government to attempt to challenge the ruling, but it does not reflect the merits of the US arguments.

Permission has been granted on a limited basis, allowing only narrow, technical grounds to form the basis of the appeal. Crucially, the High Court did not allow the United States to appeal any of the factual findings concerning Assange’s condition. No date has been set for the hearing.

Assange’s extradition was blocked in January on the grounds that it would be ‘oppressive’, citing the circumstances of the extradition, as well as his clinical history and Autism Spectrum disorder diagnosis, which, combined, would drive him to suicide. The High Court affirmed Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s conclusions concerning his clinical condition, as well as the independent expert evidence on which she relied.”

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional career as a stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

22 comments for “UK High Court Allows US to Appeal Ban on Assange Extradition

  1. Bob Martin
    July 8, 2021 at 20:18

    The criminals are in office, the heroes are imprisoned. Just as it’s always been. Human governments are mostly just illustrations of the truism that power corrupts. That combined with the fact that it’s the corruptible that tend to seek power, and things play out exactly as predicted. This is why I lean heavily towards anarchism. No one should have power over another, because that power will be misused.

  2. mbr722
    July 8, 2021 at 19:51

    I can’t believe the insanity of this. Are both countries out of their ever loving minds. All Assange did was tell the truth. Now, no one can!

  3. chibear13
    July 8, 2021 at 05:54

    Justice Department should negotiate a plea deal for all info about the stolen e-mails of the DNC, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and all other’s roles in the 2016 Election.

  4. Andrew (Andy) Alcock
    July 8, 2021 at 02:20

    This situation is outrageous. Julian Assange committed NO crime – unlike the corrupt and war-mongering governments that WikiLeaks reported about.

    Now we hear that Sigurdur Thordarson – the Icelander who dobbed Julian in to the US authorities in the first place – has admitted that he lied. If the US and the UK leaders who always boast about the rule of law were sincere, this should be the end of the case. There is no case to answer because the key witness admitted he lied.

    Julian Assange should be released immediately and be compensated for the inhumane treatment he has been exposed to.

    It seems that extreme right wing leaders in the so-called democracies are trying to intimidate all journalists from publishing criticisms of them. FREE JULIAN ASSANGE!

    • Bob Martin
      July 8, 2021 at 20:09

      I agree completely. Thank you.

  5. john stanley
    July 7, 2021 at 21:56

    Once again we see the maliciously juvenile mentality of the UK and US establishments hell bent on protecting the inequality rampant in both countries by destroying anyone who is able past or present to show the stupidity of such regimes.

  6. Virgo Atheist
    July 7, 2021 at 18:39

    The UK Government and “Judicial” is an abomination…

  7. Elyse Gilbert
    July 7, 2021 at 18:28

    I am left with my jaw hanging open, reeling with anger and frustration especially from the complete mainstream media blackout on vital information which sends this case where it truly belongs, in the gutter.
    My heart breaks for Julian, his family and all of us who are watching the empire of lies conduct complete corruption before our eyes and are held completely helpless.
    Joe Biden has a special place in hell waiting for him as do all those involved in this sordid witch hunt.

  8. July 7, 2021 at 17:38

    The “press” (media) is exclusively protected by the Constitution of The United States in order to allow it to act as a public protective oversight agent of the political realm — expressly for the benefit of the truth-seeking voting public. When the government defiles this process by attempting to repress or control any form of free speech specifically embedded in the press, they are violating the expressed intention of the Constitution and MUST be brought to public heel.

    What makes this odious affair even more repulsive is this attempt to apply such an obvious violation of our sacred principles on an individual from another country! Not only is this blatantly shameful but another step down from our internationally touted high moral democratic principles into the slimy pit of fascism.

  9. Theresa Barzee
    July 7, 2021 at 17:18

    Sobbing for Julian, Stella, the boys and the whole of Julian’s millions. What rot is this, now?
    Of families the world over who know how corrupted our governing bodies are, we grieve each day for this travesty. We see clearly what despicable evil this crime against the one who broke past the gatekeepers to bravely hold the mirror up so that all can see what is really the way of the wicked ones in power. Heartless thugs who bear no burden of conscience nor humanity, must be stopped. For they will cause the self-destruction of good and decent beings and ultimately our planet. End this insanity today! Garland & Biden better be forced to look at our populations about to revolt! Push them every damn hour without let-up!

  10. rosemerry
    July 7, 2021 at 17:00

    You mean that Trump and Biden have been able to keep this disgraceful process going for the last six months WITHOUT this even being accepted by the High Court until now???????
    This is justice? This is independence?? This is the “rules-based international order””?????

    Nothing that Julian ever did has been shown to kill or harm anyone, yet the murderous actions of the US and UK governments are allowed to go on while a person who dared to expose some of the war crimes is kidnapped and held prisoner for years with no hope of justice, and little support from mainstream journalists who profited from his work and seem oblivious of the effects on their claimed “freedom of speech.”

    • Annie McStravick
      July 8, 2021 at 06:25

      Indeed. Six long months to merely announce that the US will be allowed to appeal, and this just before the High Court goes into its summer recess until October.
      Nils Melzer recently opined that, if Julian is ever freed, it will only be when he is seen to be no longer a threat and is a broken man mentally and physically.

  11. Jan
    July 7, 2021 at 16:44

    ” … the independent expert evidence on which she relied.”

    The expert evidence shall of course be cherry picked so that it does not include the recent recanting of a key witness and of the collapse of the case against Assange.

  12. Robbie Purner
    July 7, 2021 at 16:33

    I am simply outraged. We are US citizens but left the country after Trump? election. We were hoping that the Biden administration would have dropped this egregious and unconstitutional case against Assange. Instead, they continue to engage the UK in unforgivable multinational torture of a whistleblower.

    No speaking truth to power in this day and age. All citizens of the US and the UK should be out on the streets in protest…or otherwise, hanging their heads in shame.

  13. Em
    July 7, 2021 at 16:04

    Jeffrey Epstein and John McAfee were very real threats to revealing the prevailing ‘truth’ behind the rules of the game, until they were apprehended; and then, how quickly was it that they were both assassinated, before even coming to trial – for those of cognitively dissonant minds, they committed suicide.
    Edward Snowden exposed the truth of the oligarchy’s dastardly deeds, yet he managed to slip through their fingers, to exile, in a more hospitable place, so far, than the Ecuadoran embassy.
    Granted, Russia is not as easily susceptible to be manipulated as was Ecuador, but if somehow political expediency takes precedence and push comes to shove, who knows what may transpire. Hidden in one of the compartments of mind is Alexei Navalny and the possibility of his somehow becoming a pawn in the game.
    The hegemon has now been granted permission to “go ahead with its appeal of Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser’s Jan. 4 decision not to allow the extradition of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the United States…” How very unexpected!!!!
    Meanwhile the trials and tribulations of the torturous incarceration that Chelsea Manning is enduring – a main character in this horror show, have fallen off the radar.
    Between smoke and mirrors, we the public no longer know how to recognize the difference between reflective imagery and our own reality.
    We continue to be reeled in, hook line and sinker, by the blind faith narrative myths we have been fed, since time immemorial.

    • Annie McStravick
      July 8, 2021 at 07:40

      The uniquely courageous Chelsea Manning was in fact released last year.

  14. robert scheetz
    July 7, 2021 at 15:56

    The courts are a sick joke, thoroughly corrupt and in the pocket of the Deep State. Likely a decision was make long ago to keep him in prison until he dies. It’s clearly a waste of time devoting resources there. Some direct action strategy (referendum, boycott, strikes, etc.) should be organized worldwide, but especially in the US and Europe.

  15. Anon
    July 7, 2021 at 15:24

    It seems very clear that the powers in the US, i.e. the intelligence structure, wants Assange dead.

  16. Andrew Thomas
    July 7, 2021 at 15:14

    This is pretty amazing. Baraitser agreed with the US position on everything except Assange’s “clinical issues”. What else could the US possibly appeal? And how could this decision have possibly taken six months? The only conclusion an outsider can reach is that this is being slow-walked through this process in order to increase the probability that Assange will die in custody. The UK legal system is now completely beyond shame.

    • Andrew Thomas
      July 8, 2021 at 17:14

      Reach, not teach. Sorry. Fat fingers.

  17. John Barriage
    July 7, 2021 at 11:38

    The American government should bag this act of oppression- John Barriage, San Diego, CA.

  18. Jeff Harrison
    July 7, 2021 at 11:17

    This is actually the prime reason I have so little respect for “the law”. Assange’s saga is one long story of violation of legal protections by the US, Sweden, and the UK with a side dish of betrayal by Ecuador. It provides us with a real live example of what a kangaroo court is…..

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