Home Secretary Signs Assange Extradition Order

The imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher can now appeal her decision to the High Court, as well as the points of law he lost when the magistrate’s court initially blocked the extradition. 

Assange: Simon Dawson, Reuters. Patel: Alamy Stock Photo. Collage by Cathy Vogan under Fair Use terms.

By Joe Lauria
in London
Special to Consortium News

British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday signed an extradition order to send Julian Assange to stand trial in America.

WikiLeaks called it a “dark day for press freedom” and said “the decision will be appealed.”

Legal Road Ahead

The extradition order landed on Patel’s desk after the U.K. Supreme Court refused to hear Assange’s appeal against a High Court victory for the United States.

The U.S. had appealed a magistrate court’s decision in January last year not to extradite Assange because it would be oppressive to do so based on Assange’s health and the dire conditions of U.S. solitary confinement. The High Court decided in favor of the U.S. based solely on Washington’s conditional diplomatic “assurances” that it would treat Assange humanely.

Assange still has legal options left. He can appeal Patel’s decision to the High Court. He can also launch a “cross” appeal to the High Court. The court could deny both applications for appeal. Though he won in magistrate’s court on health grounds and the condition of U.S. prisons, the judge in that court ruled on every other point of law in Washington’s favor.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser denied that the case was a political offense in violation of the U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty; that it violated the U.S. first amendment and threatened press freedom; and that Assange’s rights to due process were violated when it was revealed that the C.I.A. had spied on privileged conversations with his lawyers and she ignored testimony that the C.I.A. had discussed kidnapping or poisoning Assange.  

“The judges will have all the other elements, the important elements, that were discussed by the magistrate’s court but disregarded by the High Court [in October] because it was not the appeal point,” WikiLeaks Editor Kristinn Hrafnsson told Consortium News last month. The U.S. appeal was only about Assange’s health and U.S. prison conditions and Washington won because it convinced the judges of the credibility of its conditional assurances to treat Assange humanely. 

Since Baraitser’s Jan. 4, 2021 decision, other facts have emerged that could form part of the cross appeal. The C.I.A. plot against Assange was further corroborated by U.S. officials in a Yahoo! News report. A key U.S. witness on computer charges against Assange recanted his testimony. And Assange’s health has further deteriorated when he suffered a mini-stroke last October. 

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

19 comments for “Home Secretary Signs Assange Extradition Order

  1. Skip Edwards
    June 18, 2022 at 18:38

    How do these people live with themselves?!

  2. Atul
    June 18, 2022 at 15:29

    Whatever the outcome to Assange, the message has been clearly sent.
    Anybody with an ounce of integrity now will be very reluctant to cross the very powerful.
    His own country won’t help him, he’s basically lost the last 10 years of his life, and his life work has been totally truthful and helpful.
    Saving him now couldn’t even be described as a Pyrrhic victory; he is the definition of defeated and sending him here to the US is the embodiment of a coup de grace.
    Assange totally and completely lost, and I remember commenting when the video came out that he must be way smarter than I can imagine, because the dogs were going to come after him. Without the facts of who killed Kennedy and Lincoln, and how the MIC was clearly manipulating a captured US population in his hands with White House stationary, I felt he would come to a bad end.
    Another bright light crucified on the cross of power.

  3. Ian Stevenson
    June 18, 2022 at 04:31

    The news kept telling us his wikileaks ‘might have put lives in danger’.
    If anyone had died as a result. it would have been stated in the charges against him. It is ten years plus since most the of leaks came out.
    It is difficult to measure how many lives might be in danger because governments feel they can do things , like human rights abuses, and cover them up.

    There is a chance that an appeal to the European Court of Human rights might succeed, but the chances, we are told, are not high.
    Boris Johnson’s maternal grandfather was President of the European Commission on Human rights. Like a Greek tragedy.

    Patel is part of the Brexit government still hoping to secure a good trade deal with the US. Brexit is failing by the day so they are desperate to do anything to curry favour.

  4. June 18, 2022 at 04:31

    Wikileaks exposed US and UK Killing in Iraq and Afghanistan . Thats Motive for Priti Patel to send Assange to a Lingering Death in America`s Torturing SuperMax Prisons.
    Will Boris Johnson get a Knighthood of the Garter ?

  5. Elyse Gilbert
    June 18, 2022 at 02:45

    Dear, Joe Lauria…
    Can you perhaps be genie in a bottle and foreshadow any thoughts from Jen Robinson or Stella Assange from this morning about how likely it may be that appeals will be refused? I think it was Jen Robinson who mentioned that the UK might be or was ending their association with the European Court of Human Rights… if Assange’s lawyers are refused any appeals can they still have a chance of the case being dismissed by the ECHR? Is that even still a possibility at all? Or can that avenue end if the UK ceases it’s agreement with them?
    Like every other comment here, I too am thoroughly disgusted at the monstrous amount of illegalities, corruption and collusion in every avenue waged against Julian. What a sad, dark day it truly is. All we who support him can do is to keep ramping up the support, waking up people and educating them on the significance of this trial/case and of course his very life. It needs to get much louder now.

    And to the person who said he was ashamed/disgusted to be British, I am disgusted to be an American.

    I want to sincerely thank you and tell you how much I appreciate your voice of reason, truth and essentially always publishing reliable, detailed brilliantly authored articles. H
    Please try and hang in there Joe as I’m sure this state of oppressiveness, censorship and unlawful attacks on journalism must be even more frustrating for you and your colleagues than it is for us…

  6. lester
    June 17, 2022 at 21:34

    Is anyone surprised? Has Patel ever failed to be an obedient appartchik?

  7. Dennis Nilsson
    June 17, 2022 at 16:46

    The Internet is the Gutenberg printing press in 2000’s vintage. Those in power today could learn a lot from the medieval clergy.

    The technology is here, ideas are born and shared, cultural and political effects spread no matter what we think of them, or the measures we put in to limit them.

    No government is eternal. Nations are fragile. Power is not obvious.

  8. David Russell
    June 17, 2022 at 10:59

    To myself and to many of my fellow British citizens, this decision of our apology for a government shows the absolute depths of corruption that a government can descend to. I have lost all faith in the honesty and fairness of our legal system, our government has shown utter contempt for the law while the judges concerned have behaved corruptly dishonestly and have sneered at every tradition that we, as citizens, have been proud of. This will go down in history as the most despicable disregard for justice and will far eclipse the Dreyfus case. This is so obviously a political affair that is barred by our treaty with America that all concerned are in fact, criminals. I am ashamed of being British.

    • JonT
      June 18, 2022 at 14:02

      Well said. No sensible person can disagree with this. Incidentally, I have just seen that pillar of the British Establishment, Andrew Neils’ piece in The Daily Mail, saying that Assange should not be extradited because of the precedence that this would set, but also managing to repeat the usual accusations including Assange being a narcissist with questionable personal hygiene and being a sexual predator and putting lives at risk, etc. Nothing changes.

    • Piotr Berman
      June 18, 2022 at 18:52

      In every possible way, Dreyfus case is much milder than Assange. Perhaps the rulers in Western democracies did not build up such deep layers of ideological requirements that have to be maintained through increasing control of the media. So Dreyfus was sentences for actual espionage, not for publishing of inconvenient information. The flaws in his sentence were widely and freely discussed in the press. And Dreyfus was sent to scarily named Devil’s Island, but in actuality, his conditions were enormously better than those of Assange. That could stem from social prejudices of the time: what we would call “white collar criminals” that were not as dangerous as, say, anarchists, were typically segregated from the “unwashed” and spared of petty vengeful treatment that would be freely meted to the “normal criminals”.

      So Assange’s fate is like the canary in a coal line who has to give up its life to show how bad the air is. We do not suffer like he does, but we breath the same air.

  9. Anna
    June 17, 2022 at 10:53

    Every time the US government & US judiciary representatives mention the name of Julian Assange, they must be asked directly about the list of Epstein’s clients. The hunt on Assange began with a slanderous waling about his ‘inappropriate behavior’ with a 30-year-old woman (allegedly associated with the CIA). Where are the names of those who used ‘services’ of underage girls (some were 12 years old) on Epstein’s properties? Why do we hear nothing about Clinton, Dershowitz, and a long list of other high-positioned clients and sponsors of Epstein, such as Wexner and Lauder?

  10. June 17, 2022 at 10:36

    This fucking stinks !!! What kind world would put a man and his family through this for telling the truth to the world.
    It’s a scary world and one that everyone should be afraid to live in.
    If you are not afraid then you don’t understand what is taking place.

  11. Vera Gottlieb
    June 17, 2022 at 09:58

    Same, old same…little fish is made to pay the bill while shit keeps rising to the top.

  12. yancey
    June 17, 2022 at 09:41

    A dark day indeed.

  13. Carolyn L Zaremba
    June 17, 2022 at 09:35

    So fat Priti Patel, the Cruella DeVille of British “justice” has added further cruelty to Julian Assange. The entire case, from 2010 until now, has been one long nightmare of judicial malfeasance, perjured testimony, attempted murder, violation of attorney/client privilege, illegal surveillance and corruption in general at every turn. The mainstream, in lockstep with the government forces, has smeared and reviled Julian Assange from every filthy outlet it controls. Both the U.S. and the UK governments are deep in corruption and political intrigue no matter how much they declare that Asange’s persecution is “not political”. Of course it’s political. The real criminals are those whose war crimes and illegal spying have been revealed. They are the ones who belong in prison.

  14. James T. Orrico
    June 17, 2022 at 09:12

    Even the Queen stated it was political !

  15. Alan Ross
    June 17, 2022 at 08:24

    Christ had one Judas Iscariot. Many other good men and women have had multiple betrayers. Patel is just one more very ordinary person frightened of losing her comforts and fake prestige who is paving the way to the death of one of the great heroes of free speech and free press. She is secretly despised by those who know her, and her name will likely be quickly forgotten and when she will, as we all must, become dust, it will be very ordinary dust that no-one will sincerely mourn.

  16. June 17, 2022 at 08:12

    Assange still has legal options left. He can appeal Patel’s decision to the High Court. He can also launch a “cross” appeal to the High Court. The court could deny both applications for appeal. Though he won in magistrate’s court on health grounds and the condition of U.S. prisons, the judge in that court ruled on every other point of law in Washington’s favor.

    • Joe
      June 17, 2022 at 12:57

      …looks bad?

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