US prosecutors who are on Wednesday arguing for the London High Court to overturn a prior January ruling by Judge Baraitser banning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the US on the basis that he would face cruel punishment in a US federal ‘supermax’ prison, are now offering multiple “assurances” in order to get that ruling overturned.
Most importantly, the US side says it will allow Assange to serve any prison time stemming from US charges – which include 18 criminal counts related to espionage – in his native Australia. Lawyer for the US DOJ James Lewis filed a document with the court promising the following:
“The United States has also provided an assurance that the United States will consent to Mr Assange being transferred to Australia to serve any custodial sentence imposed on him.”
The January ruling which the US is this week seeking to have overturned was based on Assange being a potential suicide risk if transferred into US custody. It was a huge win for the WikiLeaks legal team, but the US side is now arguing that it can provide many assurances that this wouldn’t be the case.
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson this week said it would be “totally unacceptable” and “unthinkable” for the London court to reverse the prior decision, lifting the extradition ban.
Among the “package of assurances” the US lawyer is offering the court is that US authorities would ensure “any such clinical and psychological treatment as is recommended by a qualified treating clinician” at whatever prison Assange would be kept in custody.
Lewis has additionally said that Judge Baraitser had admitted to being “misled” by the psychiatric expert called on behalf of Assange, thus the case should be sent completely “back to the beginning”. His strategy has been to pick apart all psychiatric testimony as unreliable and inaccurate.
Prosecutors will talk quite a lot about “assurances,” which were offered by the US government AFTER the extradition request was blocked by District Judge Vanessa Baraitser on January 4 and AFTER the extradition hearing in September 2020.
These are the “assurances”: pic.twitter.com/S6L5Ly2VMq
— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) October 27, 2021
At the start of Wednesday’s proceedings Assange himself was not present, with his lawyer saying he wasn’t feeling well – also as his fiancé Stella Moris told supporters outside the court during a rally that he was thin and sickly due to his ongoing harsh confinement in Belmarsh. However, he later appeared via a video link to the court.
As we highlighted previously, not helping the case of the US prosecutor is the recent devastating Yahoo News investigation exposing details of an alleged CIA plot to either assassinate or kidnap Assange, and render him to US soil by force. Both Assange’s legal team and his family – especially his fiancé – have lately pointed out that the CIA revelations alone destroy Washington’s case and standing.