WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denied bail in UK

A British choose on Wednesday denied bail to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, ordering him to stay in a high-security jail whereas U.Okay. courts determine whether or not he can be despatched to the United States to face espionage expenses.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser mentioned Assange should stay in jail whereas the courts think about an attraction by U.S. authorities towards her determination to not extradite him.

The choose mentioned Assange “has an incentive to abscond” and there’s a good likelihood he would fail to return to court docket if freed.

On Monday, Baraitser rejected an American request to ship Assange to the U.S. to face spying expenses over WikiLeaks publication of secret navy paperwork a decade in the past. She denied extradition on well being grounds, saying the 49-year-old Australian was prone to kill himself if held underneath harsh U.S. jail situations.

Stella Moris girlfriend of Julian Assange, at heart, speaks to the media outdoors Westminster Magistrates Court after Assange was denied bail at a listening to within the court docket, in London, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP)

The ruling means Assange should stay in Londons high-security Belmarsh Prison the place he has been held since he was arrested in April 2019 for skipping bail throughout a separate authorized battle seven years earlier.

Assange”s accomplice, Stella Moris, mentioned the choice was “a huge disappointment.” WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson mentioned “it is inhumane. It is illogical.”

Lawyers for the U.S. authorities have appealed the choice to not extradite Assange, and the case can be heard by Britain”s Hugh Court at an unspecified date.

Clair Dobbin, a British lawyer appearing for the U.S., mentioned Assange had proven he would go “to almost any length” to keep away from extradition, and it was seemingly he would flee if granted bail.

She famous that Assange had spent seven years inside Ecuadorian Embassy in London after looking for refuge there from a Swedish extradition request in 2012.

Dobbin mentioned Assange had the “resources, abilities and sheer wherewithal” to evade justice as soon as once more, and famous that Mexico has mentioned it would supply him asylum.

But Assange”s lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, mentioned the choose”s determination to refuse extradition “massively reduces” any motivation to abscond.

“Mr. Assange has every reason to stay in this jurisdiction where he has the protection of the rule of law and this courts decision,” he mentioned.

Fitzgerald mentioned it”s additionally unclear whether or not the incoming Joe Biden administration will pursue the prosecution, initiated underneath President Donald Trump.

Fitzgerald mentioned Assange can be safer awaiting the result of the judicial course of at residence with Moris and their two younger sons — fathered whereas he was within the embassy — than in jail, the place there’s “a very grave crisis of COVID.”

But the choose dominated that Assange nonetheless had a powerful motive to flee.

“As far as Mr. Assange is concerned this case has not yet been won,” she mentioned. “Mr. Assange still has an incentive to abscond from these as yet unresolved proceedings.”

U.S. prosecutors have indicted Assange on 17 espionage expenses and one cost of pc misuse over WikiLeaks publication of 1000’s of leaked navy and diplomatic paperwork. The expenses carry a most sentence of 175 years in jail.

American prosecutors say Assange unlawfully helped U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal labeled diplomatic cables and navy information that had been later revealed by WikiLeaks.

Lawyers for Assange argue that he was appearing as a journalist and is entitled to First Amendment protections of freedom of speech for publishing paperwork that uncovered U.S. navy wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The choose rejected that argument in her extradition ruling, saying Assange’s actions, if confirmed, would quantity to offences “that would not be protected by his right to freedom of speech.” She additionally mentioned the U.S. judicial system would give him a good trial.

But the choose agreed that U.S. jail situations can be oppressive, saying there was a “real risk” he can be despatched to the Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado. It is the very best safety jail within the U.S., additionally holding Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski and Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

“I am satisfied that, in these harsh conditions, Mr. Assange’s mental health would deteriorate, causing him to commit suicide,” she mentioned in her ruling.

Legal troubles for Assange started in 2010 when he was arrested in London on the request of Sweden, which wished to query him about allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two ladies.

In 2012, Assange jumped bail and sought refuge contained in the Ecuadorian Embassy, the place he was past the attain of U.Okay. and Swedish authorities — but in addition successfully was a prisoner within the tiny diplomatic mission.

The relationship between Assange and his hosts finally soured, and he was evicted from the embassy in April 2019. British police instantly arrested him for breaching bail in 2012.

Sweden dropped the intercourse crimes investigations in November 2019 as a result of a lot time had elapsed, however Assange has remained in jail all through his extradition listening to.

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