Won’t the British state’s cruel and conniving persecution of Julian Assange ever end? Just give it up and set him free
The WikiLeaks founder wouldn’t skip the country, but a judge has turned down his plea for bail and ruled that he must remain in prison until the appeal process is completed
It would be tragic, if it wasn’t so par for the course. The heartless, never-ending treatment of Julian Assange by the British judicial system is a stain that will never be erased.
Despite earlier in the week informing the United States that the WikiLeaks founder would not be extradited to face trial there, Judge Vanessa Baraitser has now denied him bail while the Americans have the right to appeal against that decision – a process that will take months and possibly longer.
So after seven years in London’s Ecuadorian embassy and since April 2019 being held inside Belmarsh maximum security prison, alongside rapists and killers, Assange’s liberty is still being denied.
This time it’s over his likelihood to abscond whilst on bail, as Barasiter said: “As a matter of fairness, the US must be allowed to challenge my decision and if Mr Assange absconds during this process they will lose the opportunity to do so.”
On varying levels, the ruling and its rationale are absurd.
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Assange has only faced the fury of the legal system because he uncovered grave injustices that embarrassed the American government.
His treatment in no way corresponds to his so-called crimes. He is no danger to the public, there is no violence involved in the charges.
While the extradition was blocked on Monday only because Baraitser felt Assange could commit suicide if exposed to the uncompromising US penal system, it was nevertheless a clear win for his legal team. Uncle Sam was told to “get lost,” even if for the wrong reason.
In the 48 hours since, we can only speculate on what sort of horse trading has been going on between Washington and London. Any number of shadowy characters will have been circling this case, like sharks sensing wounded prey. Some intervention has to have occurred, as the decision is baffling.
Assange will not skip bail. There’s the simple reason that he has two young sons, who he hasn’t been able to see since they were born. All of those close to him speak of how he wants to be part of their lives as a father.
His QC Edward Fitzgerald informed the court that the kids, Assange and partner Stella Moris would live under house arrest in London.
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If the police were able to spend whatever massive sum it was to have officers patrolling the Ecuadorian embassy in case he bolted, couldn’t they do the same at this address?
Assange was also happy to wear a tracking device, allowing the authorities real-time access to his location and thus any unacceptable movements would be detected instantly.
On top of that, he is one of the most recognisable people on the planet. His ordeal was turned into a major movie, ‘The Fifth Estate’, with Hollywood superstar Benedict Cumberbatch playing Assange.
Britain is also an island so after surrendering his passport, which he is willing to do, then the only means of leaving would be on a dinghy in the dead of night. As we’ve all witnessed with migrants crossing the Channel, that either results in being saved by the Royal Navy or drowning. Does anyone really see Assange, Moris and his two children bobbing about in the ocean in an inflatable raft?
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This is all without even addressing the elephant in the room.The Americans are desperate to throw him into Colorado’s Supermax ADX Florence prison for 175 years. This is no trivial case in the eyes of the so-called Land of the Free, but Britain is the safest place in the world for Assange ironically.
His extradition from here has been refused. If he goes anywhere else, he will be out of the frying pan and into the fire as the US will look to seize him again. He would then be at the mercy of another judge, who may not be so concerned about suicide risks.
Assange wouldn’t risk that. If he escaped to another country, he would be playing Russian roulette with a fully-loaded revolver. There is the offer of political asylum from Mexico that some are citing as a destination he could flee to and beat bail conditions. But how would he get there and would he want to risk living on America’s doorstep?
Edward Snowden’s persecution that sees him trapped in Russia, shows how far the US will go.
Another warning against going there is the fate of notorious drug runner Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, who currently resides in ADX Florence. He was extradited from Mexico, which is his home country, after they initially refused to send him. Those odds wouldn’t inspire even the most optimistic gambler.
The decision not to grant bail and keep Assange languishing in jail is a calculated act of state violence. Britain’s justice system should hang its head in shame. When it was time to do the right thing, and make a modicum of amends for all it’s done against one man, it did the opposite.
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