US Wins Right to Appeal Health Grounds on Assange Extradition

The United States on Wednesday won the right to appeal the health grounds upon which a decision was made by a district judge in London not to extradite the WikiLeaks publisher to the United States, reports Joe Lauria.

Stella Moris with her and Julian Assange’s children. (Twitter/Stella Moris)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Two judges at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday sided with the United States to allow it to appeal the judgement by District Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January that Julian Assange was at too high a risk of suicide to be extradited to the United States. 

The U.S. on July 5 was granted the right to appeal the decision not to extradite but not on the grounds of Assange’s health. That was reversed on Wednesday.

The U.S. now has the right to argue that the testimony of the defense’s key expert witness on suicide, Prof. Michael Kopelman, should be deemed inadmissible or granted little weight because Kopelman concealed from the court that he knew Assange had had two children with his partner, the lawyer Stella Moris.

Clair Dobbin, an attorney for the U.S., told the court that concealing that information undermined Kopelman’s credibility and Baraitser’s judgement. “The overall impression is that judge thought this was a reltively minor matter. It is duty of expert witnesses that it does not mislead,” Dobbin said.

Baraitser in her judgement acknowledged Kopelman had mislead the court but for “human” reasons, namely to protect the safety and privacy of Moris and the children. Baraitser ruled that Kopelman had been an impartial witness. 

Edward Fitzgerald for the defense reminded the court that evidence in the Spanish case against the company UC Global, which spied on Assange inside the Ecuador embassy for a U.S. intelligence agency, revealed that agents had stolen the diaper of one of Assange’s children to get the DNA to prove he was the father.

They also discussed poisoning or kidnapping Assange. Baraitser heard this testimony and knew the dangers that lurked for Moris and the children and accepted that Kopelman was protecting them.

“It’s not that you make one lapse and your evidence is inadmissible and should be given no weight,” Fitzgerald told the court. “It is not a point of law. And the court should not give leave on that.”

But the court did. Lord Justice Timothy Holyrode gave full attention to Dobbin but fiddled with his pen and looked around the room when Fitzgerald spoke. And when it was time for his ruling he played it by the book. Kopelman had signed a witness declaration that he told the truth but he had not. “It is arguable he did not act in accordance with his duty and the DJ [Baraitser] erred,” he said. “It is probable that the DJ … had an incorrect approach.”

The substantive hearing of the U.S. appeal will be on Oct. 27 and 28. The U.S. has just been given a wider berth to overturn Baraitser’s decision not to extradite Assange.

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  

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25 comments for “US Wins Right to Appeal Health Grounds on Assange Extradition

  1. August 13, 2021 at 06:43


  2. rick
    August 13, 2021 at 03:39

    The charade continues relentlessly grinding on with more abject judicial sycophants added to the cast of state actors posturing on the bench with their specious legal judgements.

    • MagdaTam
      August 13, 2021 at 19:17

      “cast of state actors posturing on the bench with their specious legal judgements.”

      A case of round and round thje garden danced the teddy bears, one step, two step and a tickly under there.

      However they do like to be on stage and so tend to be guided by an alliance of – If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again and can-doism, so they are likely not finished yet but accelerating atishoo, atishoo, we “all” fall down – the latter phrase being more in hope than expectation.

  3. John V. Walsh
    August 12, 2021 at 12:19

    Continued great coverage on this topic from CN – one of the few outlets to provide such coverage.

  4. Java Wisman
    August 12, 2021 at 06:30

    This is how totalitarianism looks like!

    • Calvin E Lash Jr
      August 12, 2021 at 13:04


  5. TEP
    August 12, 2021 at 05:34

    The UK courts are as corrupt as the US ones and no-one should be surprised by the increasingly blatant persecution of truthtellers. The law does not matter to them, like the Iraq war intelligence, they will simply misrepresent it to fit the decision that has already been made.

  6. revyn
    August 11, 2021 at 20:02

    It is quite apparent that the judicial systems in both the U.S. and the U.K. are abject failures in the matters of justice, and therefor should have no legitimacy or authority over anyone.

    • August 12, 2021 at 14:33

      This government is already passing Laws to stop journalists from revealing government plans and secrets, with long prison sentences, to prevent the public from seeing the truth!
      Its like living in a dystopian country, with one life for government, as Tory politicians get richer by the day and the rest of us are struggling!
      If Julian Assange is sent to the US, our sad media, especially the Guardian..who printed the war crimes and made a fortune from a book, should be ignored, as they no longer deserve our interest, for their cowardly silence on a world renowned journalist…and for their total lack of honesty, or principles!

  7. susan
    August 11, 2021 at 14:12

    What a bunch of Bullshit! I think we should just storm Belmarsh, get Assange out, then storm the so-called halls of justice and kick the very butts of those who imprisoned Julian in the first place, all the way to Guantanamo. The legal system is a farce!!

    • MagdaTam
      August 12, 2021 at 05:46

      “The legal system is a farce!!”

      All legal systems are farces to some degrees; the degree of farceness being a function of the perceived demystification of their purposes.

      The main purpose is to facilitate the continuation of the social relations within system acceptable linear parameters of which the legal system is a component through obfuscating the rule of some as the rule of law predicated upon ideological “norms” in hope of facilitating, practicising, and re-enforcing coercive social relations in various forms, which appears to those so engaged to continue in part to “be successful” on “analyses” including but not limited to the attendance/participation in the charades, including Mr. Assange.

      The mix of farces implemented are functions, including perceptions, of the facilities of those engaged in attempts at implementation which tend to be enmazed within system acceptable linear paradigms thereby illustrating a level of constancy of perceptions/strategies/tactics across coercive instruments such as the “Department of Justice”, “Department of State” and the “Pentagon”, thereby enhancing the demystication of rule of laws to a growing sum of some as the rule of some, whilst simultaneously to encourage the dumbing down of those engaged in the charade and their complicity in the transcendence of their social relations facilitating opportunities where “laws” are metamorphised into mutual agreements which are held to be contextually valid although capable of lateral change if that is no longer deemed to be the case – the present coercive social relations attempting to represent “laws” as mutual agreement derived from precedents and “representative democracy”.

        August 12, 2021 at 06:25

        You can say that again!

        • pat
          August 13, 2021 at 06:23

          I wish I’d said that .

      • Julius
        August 12, 2021 at 17:07

        In short: It’s just a disgusting display of power play from a select few in order to keep the poor as poor as possible, as to have them remain obedient slaves, to provide and reserve earth’s most precious resources for that select few and protect those rich from getting embarrassed.

      • August 13, 2021 at 06:51


    • Calvin E Lash Jr
      August 12, 2021 at 13:05


    • Em
      August 14, 2021 at 12:00

      One commenters opinion:
      Sorry to say, but this type of robust, highly creative imagination is more farce than reality.
      It is a reflection of the delusional notion of whose interests power and justice serve, in the real world.
      What is taking place may seem like theater of the absurd to you, yet in actuality it is about the very life or death of an actual humane being; not to mention the direct threat to real life, or death, of freedom of thought and expression thereof, for of all of us hoi polloi.
      It is obvious to one and all, especially in this ongoing Assange ‘farce’ that both prosecutors and justices are servants of the exceptional class of oligarchic hegemons.

  8. Carolyn L Zaremba
    August 11, 2021 at 13:40

    So state murder is once again given a high-five by the criminals in the UK “justice” system. Mind-blowing, truly.

  9. nwwoods
    August 11, 2021 at 13:04

    The fix is in, as it has been from the outset.

  10. RZ
    August 11, 2021 at 12:58

    That makes my heart sink

  11. JonT
    August 11, 2021 at 12:46

    This whole case is a complete farce. It has progressed from mad to madder and is now insane. Who is instructing these ‘Judges’? Assange is a UK political prisoner, no doubt. Good to see Jeremy Corbin outside the court, but he did not make enough noise about this when he was Labour leader in my opinion.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      August 11, 2021 at 13:43

      Understood. The crimes here are being committed by the state, against one man who did nothing but report the truth about the violent corruption of both the US and UK governments in their wars against other countries. There should be a modern equivalent of the Nuremburg war crimes trials, at which all of these monsters receive the sort of punishment that they are dishing out to Julian Assange.

    • Theo Baumann
      August 11, 2021 at 17:35

      I wonder with how much $ the USA bribed those British Judges …??

      • Carlo
        August 12, 2021 at 18:05

        Bribery? There’s no need for bribery. In that respect British justice resembles British journalism – as recalled in the old rhyme:

        ‘You cannot hope to bribe or twist,
        Thank God, the British journalist.
        But seeing what the chap will do unbribed,
        There’s no occasion to.’

        • MagdaTam
          August 13, 2021 at 04:04

          “There’s no occasion to.’”

          Such are among the benefits of chummery, although chummery has been placed at some risk by some chums including but not restricted to past and present prime ministers forgetting to wear their noblesse oblige coat before sallying forth.

Comments are closed.