The editors and directors of the media that once published the most relevant information from WikiLeaks, the website promoted by Julian Assange, have called in an open letter to the United States Government for the end of a persecution that has kept them in prison for a decade. to the hacker most famous in recent history. The headers —The New York Times, Guardian, the world, Der Spiegel and EL PAIS—warn that the indictment of Assange is “a dangerous precedent” that threatens to undermine press freedom.
Priti Patel, who was then British Home Secretary in Boris Johnson’s government, finally approved on June 17 the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face US justice. Thus began the latest round of appeals before the British courts, with which Assange’s lawyers had to try to prevent his delivery. The US authorities accuse the Australian activist of 18 crimes, including one of espionage, related to the publication by WikiLeaks of confidential information, military records and diplomatic cables that, according to Washington, have put lives in danger.
“Following consideration by both the Magistrates Court and the High Court, Julian Assange has been ordered extradited to the US. Assange retains the normal 14-day right of appeal,” the Home Office said in a statement at the time. Downing Street decided to collaborate with Washington, the Johnson Executive being more concerned with preserving its “special relationship” with the US than with protecting Assange’s future.
Patel’s decision did not spell the end of the Australian’s legal battle after more than a decade of litigation. His legal team have lodged an appeal with the High Court in London, which must give its approval. Ultimately, they may try to take their case to the UK Supreme Court. But if an appeal is rejected, Assange should be extradited within 28 days.
Assange was sentenced to almost a year in jail by the British courts for ignoring the restrictions on his provisional release in 2012. The Swedish authorities had demanded the surrender of the fugitive, accused of various crimes of rape and sexual abuse against two women who collaborated in a WikiLeaks act in Stockholm two years earlier. The hacker He obtained diplomatic protection from the Government of Ecuador, chaired at the time by Rafael Correa, and remained locked up for seven years in the premises of the Embassy in London.
The Government of Ecuador, chaired at the time by Lenin Moreno, decided to break ties with the fugitive and handed him over to the United Kingdom Government in April 2019. They accused him of having abused their hospitality and of having interfered in the activities of others States since his confinement. In March this year, Assange married South African lawyer Stella Moris in the high-security Belmarsh prison. The couple had two children in secret during the seven years that Assange was held in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
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