Assange’s Fate Awaits US ‘Assurances’

The High Court on Tuesday rejected six Assange grounds for a new appeal, agreeing he had only three legitimate arguments but that the U.S. could nullify them with new “assurances,” reports Joe Lauria.

Stella Assange addressing media after hearing High Court decision Tuesday. (Joe Lauria)

By Joe Lauria
in London
Special to Consortium News

The High Court in London on Tuesday gave the United States an opportunity to rebuff Julian Assange’s plea that he be allowed to appeal the Home Office’s order to extradite him to the U.S. to face espionage charges. 

In a complex ruling at the Royal Courts of Justice, the court agreed with Assange that he had grounds to ask for an appeal, but invited the United States to give the court assurances by April 16 that could negate Assange’s arguments. 

Specifically, the two-judge panel ruled that Assange had grounds to appeal because his extradition was incompatible with his rights of expression in the European Convention on Human Rights; that he might be prejudiced because of his nationality (not being given 1st Amendment protection as a non-American) and because he had inadequate protection against the death penalty. (Without such an assurance Britain cannot extradite him.)

However, the court is allowing the U.S. to given written assurances that all these rights won’t be violated. If the U.S. misses the April 16 deadline then Assange will be allowed to appeal his case on those three grounds only. 

If the U.S. meets the deadline, the parties will have until April 30 to make submissions about the assurances. This is a significant departure from the previous High Court decision in 2020 that overturned the lower court’s decision not to extradite based solely on U.S. assurances that Assange would not be mistreated in U.S. prisons.

In that case, Assange’s lawyers were not permitted to challenge the validity of the assurances. The U.K. Supreme Court then rejected Assange’s application to challenge them as well. This time, the High Court will allow Assange’s legal team to pick apart the assurances.   

Submissions about the assurances by both sides would have to be filed by May 14 and then the case would be adjourned to May 20, at which time there could be a final hearing on the question of whether to allow Assange to appeal. 

If not he could be immediately extradited to the U.S., unless the European Court of Human Rights issues an injunction in time to stop it.

Court Rejects Heart of Assange Arguments

Assange inside London’s harsh high-security Belmarsh Prison in 2019, shown in a leaked prison video. (Taken covertly by an unknown fellow prisoner)

The court on Tuesday rejected outright the most substantive and significant points raised by Assange’s barristers at a two-day hearing heard on Feb. 20-21. 

It rejected six grounds in all: the argument that the home secretary’s extradition order was incompatible with the U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty that bars extradition for a political offense. 

The High Court also rejected that Assange was being prosecuted for his political opinions in violation of U.K.-U.S. Extradition Act.  (These two points would mean Assange’s revelations of U.S. war crimes is now irrelevant to his case, as the court does not find his case to be “political.”) 

The court also ruled that Assange could not argue a violation of Article 7 of the convention, which in Assange’ case was that  the crime of publishing was not foreseeable in 2010, nor ever, because he would be the first journalist successfully indicted under the Espionage Act. Article 7 is like the U.S. 5th Amendment in that a person has to know in advance they will be criminally liable, in other words, that something they are about to do is a crime.

Article 7 says: “No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed.” 

The court threw out Assange’s argument that his extradition was incompatible with the right to a fair trial under article 6 of  the convention; and that it was incompatible with the convention’s article 2, the right to life and 3, freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.   

Significantly, Tuesday’s ruling did not allow Assange to introduce new evidence in the case that came to light after the lower court ruling, namely that the C.I.A. plotted to kidnap and assassinate Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where had had asylum before being arrested and thrown in Belmarsh Prison, where he continues to languish.  


“Today’s decision was astounding,” Stella Assange, Julian Assange’s wife, told reporters outside the Royal Courts of Justice. The courts recognized that Julian has been exposed to flagrant denial of his freedom of expression rights, that he is being discriminated against on the basis of his nationality and that he remains exposed to the death penalty.” 

But, she said, the U.S. has been invited to “send a letter saying it is all okay.”  She told reporters:

“I find it astounding that five years into this case the United States has to show that their case remains an attack on press freedom. What the courts haven’t agreed to look at is the evidence that the United States has plotted to assassinate Julian, to kidnap him. Because if it acknowledges this, then of course how can he be sent to the United States?

Julian is a political prisoner. He is a journalist. And he is being persecuted because he exposed the true cost of war in human lives. This case is a retribution. It is a signal to all of you that if you expose the interests that are driving war, they will come after you. They will put you in prison, they will try to kill you.”

Assange is 16 days away from the fifth anniversary of his arrest and imprisonment in Belmarsh, without conviction. “The charges against him are to punish him for publishing the truth, for publishing evidence of the war crimes of the country that is trying to extradite him,” said Stella Assange. 

John Rees, leader of Don’t Extradite Assange (DEA), told Consortium News he sees some progress in Tuesday’s ruling:

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was outside the courthouse and offered these remarks to reporters:

Videos by Joe Lauria, edited by Cathy Vogan

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

28 comments for “Assange’s Fate Awaits US ‘Assurances’

  1. Bushrod Lake
    March 27, 2024 at 15:20

    I hope ole Joe realizes if he doesn’t pardon Assange now, many people will not vote for him. Third party candidates will benefit.

  2. Michael
    March 27, 2024 at 09:08

    i still don’t understand how Assange can be charged, as an Australian citizen, under the US Espionage Act. it seems clear from the beginning that it was intended to prosecute US nationals for what might be construed as treasonous or “disloyal” actions or words. how is an Australian citizen legally bound by or subject to an assertion of US government policy or interests?

  3. Rebecca
    March 27, 2024 at 06:02

    The Assange campaign has failed miserably, no matter its good intentions. Because it focused on enlisting the support only of middle-class, respectable social layers here in the UK as in Australia and the USA it has not built a working-class, large-scale movement – just as the campaign for reproductive justice in the USA failed and look what the result of that was. The role of Jeremy Corbyn has not been examined, so far as I know, on CN. Between July 2015, two months before his election as leader, and April 2019, Corbyn made no public comment on the WikiLeaks founder’s situation. His brief comments since then were merely to abandon Julian to the mercies of the English courts. A working-class leader would know how hollow that support is, and Corbyn is no such leader.

    Not the trade unions, not parliamentary representatives, not anyone in power has done anything substantial for Julian. But the fight for his freedom is also the fight against war: WikiLeaks exposed the vicious criminality of the regimes governing Western nations. This should have been a clarion call for the working class. Instead it was largely a muted, celebrity-calling and hapless campaign.

    • Boba
      March 27, 2024 at 11:11

      I agree completely with you. You have the point. This is the essence of the problem.
      Best regards- Boba

  4. CaseyG
    March 27, 2024 at 00:28

    Joe Biden should be locked up, as really, he’s as bad as Trump . To do what has been done to Julian Assange is insanity and cruelty all wrapped up together. If Julian Assange is locked up for 175 years—then America as a nation—as a functioning nation is over!

  5. March 26, 2024 at 20:03

    Thank You Joe

  6. Sam F
    March 26, 2024 at 19:40

    The US Judicial Branch and DOJ have zero concern for Constitutional Rights.
    Their sole concern is to make tribalist attacks for their political party, to gain promotions.

    This is well proven by my case in the DC District and DC Circuit appeal, in which I proved that Florida Republican politicians had stolen about $120 million in conservation funds, and the FBI, DOJ, and Homeland Security refused to investigate when given full evidence and legal argument many times over three years, even while investigating a Democratic politician there for one-thousandth of that amount. All judges accepted the grotesquely unconstitutional DOJ claim that any government agency can at their discretion engage in organized crime for a political party with full immunity, which has never been true.

    Any UK judge who trusts the US to abide by its Constitution is a fool; in fact they only trust the US to cover up its crimes against humanity. Judges are a very primitive tribe, accustomed to dances of contortions around a midnight bonfire of the laws, and have no concern for law beyond maintaining appearances even while taunting “citizens” that they have no rights.

  7. Jim Thomas
    March 26, 2024 at 16:17

    “U.S. Assurances” are worthless. The U.S. lies about pretty much everything. It has no credibility. It routinely breaks treaties and other promises and “assurances”. It promised to not allow the expansion of NATO east of Germany, then caused the expansion of NATO which gave rise to the current U.S. proxy war in Ukraine. Of course, the U.K. , serving as U.S. vassal, will do whatever the U.S. orders it to do. The U.S. is a lawless, rogue state. Its “foreign policy” is that the rest of the world must follow U.S. orders. This arrogance and foolishness is causing the destruction of the U.S., which is a good thing for the rest of the world.

  8. Clam Hopper
    March 26, 2024 at 15:22

    I guess it’s far too late for this, but maybe Assange should’ve tried to change his nationality from Australia to a sympathetic country that would actually fight to stop this flagrant abuse of its citizen. Lula’s Brazil, or Mexico, or some other, that had some leverage with the US and was willing to use it for something other than buying expensive, delayed, useless nuclear submarines and hosting the US military and spies.

  9. DW Bartoo
    March 26, 2024 at 14:31

    Craig Murray was on Judging Freedom, today March 26, 2024.

    I suggest that any who are able make the effort to watch and listen to what is said.

    Murray very accurately describes the reality of a Brit “justice system” people by those who have all gone to the same schools, move through the same circles, and know, precisely well what is expected of them, regarding the fate of Julian Assange.

  10. Freedom is given by God not gov.
    March 26, 2024 at 13:56

    What is the “House Resolution 934” Stella references?

    Is it for the US? Or Great Britain? Because I couldn’t find anything relevant to Assange for H.R. 943 in a quick google search.

    Keep up the essential reporting

      March 26, 2024 at 15:37

      It is a U.S. House resolution calling for the prosecution of Assange to be dropped. It can be read here:


      • Em
        March 28, 2024 at 12:36

        Yet it seems obvious that it the executive branch of government alone, that determines what the meaning of “regular journalistic activities” are.
        In other words, no matter who the president is, or who sits in the house of representatives, they are, without fail, seduced by the power of elevated position, to become integral members of the Duopoly; to which they give their first allegiance.
        In fact, these individuals immediately learn, on being sworn-in to pay no heed to peoples interpretations of the meaning of Freedom of Speech in any meaningful Democratic way!

  11. claes bergqvist
    March 26, 2024 at 13:40

    Of course US will give the court convincing garanties. But what will those wigs of Royal Courts of Justice do when US later don´t obey and starts to torture Julian to death ? Shaking their heads and “ohs” like the Beatles ?

  12. Fastball
    March 26, 2024 at 13:40

    Assange is neither a UK nor US citizen. He is not subject to their jurisdiction, and is a purely political prisoner. It is shameful that Australia does not bring the maximum amount of economic and diplomatic leverage to get Assange released. It does have the power to get that to happen; there are many economic levers it can use. It’s time the UK and Australia and others stopped being the poodles of the U.S. and Israel.

    • RomfordRob
      March 26, 2024 at 16:41

      Here, here!!!!!!!
      What in God’s Name has happened to national pride?? Across the entire “free” (hahaha!!) world it’s the same miserable story. For God’s Sake someone in addition to the heroic Houtis please stand up and give Uncle Sam the finger!!!

  13. Em
    March 26, 2024 at 12:57

    Dream: If, if, if, if, if….there is any MORALITY remaining in the self-destructing, imploding US hegemon, the regime, in its dying throes, would suddenly have a last gasp epiphany and would do the right thing for humanities further enlightenment and ultimate survival, as a full-fledged, critically freethinking humanity, by telling the court that it, in good conscience, could NOT provide the assurances required, then Julian Assange, the man, walks free!
    On the US’s gravestone, its epitaph would read: We have moved on to a better country. R.I.P.

  14. Vera Gottlieb
    March 26, 2024 at 11:45

    NEVER EVER!!! trust America. NEVER!

    • Em
      March 26, 2024 at 13:34

      So, what I hear you saying is: NEVER, where there is life is there EVER!!! hope for change.
      Vive l’humanité Vive la France!

      • Gene Poole
        March 27, 2024 at 02:32

        The problem is that the necessary change is revolutionary. And the existing structure will defend itself to the death.

        Vive le genre humain! Vive l’Internationale!

        • Em
          March 27, 2024 at 10:22

          Appreciate the explanation!
          Systemic change will NOT come about by continuing to play the same sickening charades!
          Do each of us, acting alone, have the necessary power?

    • JonT
      March 26, 2024 at 15:04


    • Sick and tired
      March 26, 2024 at 17:20


  15. Arch Stanton
    March 26, 2024 at 11:25

    RIP the British Justice System.

    We already knew that was a misnomer after the farce
    of previous scandals like Hillsborough, Lockerbie and numerous other events.

    This country is rotten to the core

  16. Boba
    March 26, 2024 at 11:14

    It is astounding! I’m speechless and in tears. This is the picture of the world in witch we all live- poor, miserable, dishonest, ,unjust, cruel , shameful. What will be left of our human conscience, if we fail to save Julian? Just a shame and the awareness that today he is on the dock, and tomorrow it could be any of us.

  17. Ray Peterson
    March 26, 2024 at 10:06

    And here we go again on the merry-go-round of injustice.
    What else could be expected from UK judges who
    are not much more than Military -6 and CIA operatives?
    Stella tells the world the painful truth.

  18. Robert
    March 26, 2024 at 09:48

    There are many individual incidents that expose Washington DC to be the fascist state that it is becoming. Put the Assange case on that list. Trump could have, should have, pardoned him but didn’t. What should alarm all Americans is the radically different approach that our mainstream media takes to Navalny and Assange. Navalny was almost certainty on our CIA’s payroll for the sole purpose of creating dissent in Russia. Much more popular in Washington DC than in Russia. Yet virtually every one of the many articles written in the US about Navalny tried to present him as a heroic figure much beloved in Russia. With Assange the media is very quiet. They know that Assange is merely a truth teller, but few in the media are willing to go against the uni party narrative. The blacklist is alive.

    • JonT
      March 26, 2024 at 15:11

      Quite. I think we can all agree that if it was the UK trying to extradite an American journalist from the US, the US would have told HM Government to get stuffed long ago.

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