WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange is Headed to Court in Britain for Extradition Hearing
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was ordered by British authorities on Friday to appear in a London court to figure out whether he can be let out of prison while his extradition status is determined.
Assange has been holed up in the high-security Belmarsh prison since April, amidst widespread allegations of mistreatment and abuse by authorities. His supporters worry that he may receive the same treatment as Jeffrey Epstein, another man who knew many secrets and died mysteriously in August while imprisoned, if he is extradited to the United States.
Many independent observers and individuals close to Assange fear the worst, as the controversial information liberator’s health continues to rapidly deteriorate behind bars. His long-time confinement and detention have taken a massive toll.
Nils Melzer, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture who examined Assange in prison with two medical examiners, has accused authorities of creating an “extremely hostile and arbitrary environment” for the whistleblower’s advocate.
Melzer believes that the deep state is engaging in a “relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation against Mr. Assange.”
If Assange is extradited to the U.S., he faces charges under the Espionage Act that could put him behind bars for 175 years – if he isn’t found dead before he can stand trial.
Assange has been ordered by London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court judge Tan Ikram to appear in person on Oct. 21 for a hearing on his case. His fate will ultimately be determined at a final extradition hearing on Feb. 28 of next year.
At this point, Assange has only appeared in court on a video feed. He is arguing that his poor health prevents him from being a flight risk, and he should no longer be confined behind bars as he awaits his extradition hearing.
The U.S. federal authorities have no pity on Assange, and they hope to make an example out of the man who has exposed their embarrassing and incriminating secrets to the world.
“The Department takes seriously the role of journalists and our democracy and we support it,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said after Assange’s charges.
“It has not and never been the Department’s policy to target them for reporting. Julian Assange is no journalist, this is made plain by the totality of his conduct as alleged in the indictment,” Demers added.
The organization Assange founded, WikiLeaks, continues to advocate on his behalf while he is incarcerated.
6 months ago today Assange was illegally arrested in the Ecuadorian embassy, now a political prisoner in Belmarsh where he is not serving any sentence but is awaiting his extradition for publishing the truth and facing 175 years in the USA https://t.co/3KervGH5a8
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 11, 2019