Dozens of people took to the streets in London this Wednesday to protest in the British capital’s High Court for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, just before a court hearing on his extradition to the United States began.
The group that gathered in the area came early in the morning with megaphones and banners to demand the release of the activist and programmer. “It is very important to be here today, it is important not only for journalists, but for everyone on a global scale,” said protester Sadia Kokni.
“It’s about the atrocities he exposed, he’s a seeker for justice and truth who stands up for everyone,” he said before making it clear that they are there “to make sure justice is done.”
However, sources close to the matter have told the DPA news agency that Assange has not gone to court on medical grounds, despite telematic tracing of the view from Belmarsh Prison, where he is being held. Some of the pictures show Assange off camera, wearing a white shirt, tie and black mask.
The United States has repeatedly filed for extradition of 50-year-old Assange, who is accused of conspiring to obtain and divulge classified and national security information after the leakage of thousands of documents related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq .
Assange is now facing another lawsuit to prevent his extradition to the United States, where he is charged with a dozen charges. The Superior Court of London is therefore analyzing the US appeal against the decision of another court that refused extradition on health grounds.
The WikiLeaks founder was arrested in April 2019 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had lived as a refugee since 2012, to avoid an initial extradition to Sweden, where a criminal investigation into alleged sex crimes was pending. In the United States, he has faced espionage and another number of hackers on 17 incidents.
The case is unprecedented in the United States under the original regulation, the Espionage Act of 1917. Many scholars believe that the law, which has never been used to prosecute a journalist, raises worrying constitutional questions because it gives the public the rights of the First Amendment to obtain and publish information.
In a statement, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard called on the governments of the United States and Great Britain to “drop the charges and release Assange”.
His words came after a series of information was released that revealed that US intelligence agencies were considering the possibility of kidnapping or murdering the activist while he was staying at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
“The US government’s guarantees that Julian Assange will not be admitted to a maximum security prison or subjected to abusive special administrative measures have been discredited by the admission that it reserves the right to revoke them,” he added.
“Now reports that the CIA has been considering the possibility of the kidnapping or murder of Assange have raised even more doubts about the reliability of the American promises and further exposed the political motivation behind the case,” he said.
To Callamard, it is “grotesque” that nearly twenty years later, “no person responsible for the alleged war crimes committed by the United States during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been held accountable or prosecuted, yet an editor who does In light of such crimes, he faces a possible life imprisonment. “
The five reasons given by the US for requesting Assange’s extradition will be examined during the hearing. “The relentless pursuit of Julian Assange by the US government makes it clear that these charges are punitive,” Callamard said.