Julian Assange’s wife Stella Assange confirmed that the hearing will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice in the middle of February.
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
Imprisoned publisher Julian Assange will face two High Court judges over two days on Feb. 20-21, 2024 in London in what will likely be his last appeal against being extradited to the United States to face charges of violating the Espionage Act.
Assange’s wife Stella Assange confirmed that the hearing will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice. Assange had had an earlier request to appeal rejected by High Court Judge Jonathan Swift on June 6.
Assange then filed an application to appeal that decision and the dates have now been set. Assange is seeking to challenge both the home secretary’s decision to extradite him as well as to cross appeal the decision by the lower court judge, Vanessa Baraitser.
Baraitser had ruled in January 2021 to release Assange from Belmarsh Prison and deny the U.S. request for extradition based on Assange’s mental health, his propensity to commit suicide and conditions of U.S. prisons. On every point of law, however, Baraitser sided with the United States.
The U.S. appealed her decision, issuing “diplomatic assurances” that Assange would not be mistreated in prison. The High Court, after a two-day hearing in March 2022, accepted those “assurances” and rejected Assange’s appeal.
His application to the U.K. Supreme Court to hear the case was then denied. Assange then applied for a new appeal of Baraitser’s legal decisions and the home secretary’s extradition order.
If convicted under the World War I-era Espionage Act, the WikiLeaks publisher and journalist is facing up to 175 years in a U.S. dungeon for publishing classified material revealing crimes by the U.S. state, including war crimes.
Assange was also charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, though the indictment against him does not accuse him of stealing U.S. documents or even of helping his source, Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, to do so.
Day X is here.
The public hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice will be on 20-21 February.
It may be the final chance for the UK to stop Julian’s extradition. Gather outside the court at 8:30am on both days. It’s now or never. #DayX #FreeAssangeNOW #JournalismIsNotACrime pic.twitter.com/RL3e8FMxoJ
— Stella Assange #FreeAssangeNOW (@Stella_Assange) December 19, 2023
Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette, the London Daily Mail 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 is the author of two books, A Political Odyssey, with Sen. Mike Gravel, foreword by Daniel Ellsberg; and How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, foreword by Julian Assange. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe
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