On the extradition of Julian Assange



The Assange case is an extreme example of the strategies of lawfare that combine the complicity of the justice systems of several countries

Defenders of press freedom and human rights are upset and worried about the decision of a British court that, reforming a previous sentence, complied with the guarantees offered by the US government and sentenced the extradition of journalist Julian Assange.

The drastic measure was not expected by jurists who technically defend the founder of WikiLeaks. A decision was expected in accordance with the constitutional and customary tradition of British justice, jealous of fundamental guarantees, but, surprisingly, the judges of the court disqualified the humanitarian arguments of Judge Vanessa Baraitser to entrust the executioners with the guardianship of the life of a martyr of the right to information and truth.

Among the promises of the US accusers is to guarantee medical and psychological treatment in ordinary prison, avoiding the Colorado Supermax, described by a former warden as “the clean version of hell” and a “fate worse than death”. Eventually, prosecutors assure, the sentence could even be served in the accused's home country, Australia.

Similar promises had already been made, for example, in the Abu Hamza case, an episode narrated in Judge Baraitser's sentence demonstrating that promises were dramatically broken. The convict, a man with amputated hands, was deprived of prostheses that allowed him to brush his teeth, practice intimate hygiene, clean his cell and other dignified tasks. The prisoner convicted of terrorism crimes even went so far as to open a can of preserves with his teeth.

The drastic decision also disregards the fact that Assange has been treated exceptionally throughout the journey since he brought to the world knowledge of war crimes and espionage strategies committed by the United States.

At the last hearing, the activist was treated like a dangerous animal. On the day set for the trial, after being searched naked and having breakfast, he was transported to the court in chains and presented to the public inside a glass case. Without direct access to the lawyers, he was allowed to write notes and kneel down to pass them to the defenders through a crack in the floor. After the hearing, he was remanded to Belmarsh Prison, known as Britain's Guantanamo Bay. But that is just the current phase of the persecution.

The tour includes false accusations of sexual crimes, new criminal types tailored to the activist, secret courts, secret processes and supervening accusations to guarantee the construction of an inescapable norm against anyone who dares to face the reasons of the empire.

The Assange case is an extreme example of the strategies of lawfare that combine the complicity of the justice systems of several countries, including here, in addition to the main hunters, also Sweden, the European Union in general – for not recognizing and applying guarantees at a certain stage of the process – and finally Lenin Moreno’s Ecuador , especially after the 2019 geopolitical turn that resulted in the journalist being handed over to the collusion of jurisdictions.

The extradition decision still allows appeal to the British Constitutional Court and, as unlikely as it may seem, it is possible that a collegiate defender of fundamental rights will prevent Julian Assange from being handed over to the real criminals who seek to impose their justice on the world in a unilateral, coercive way. and illegal.

Defending Assange is defending ourselves.

* Carol Proner is a lawyer and jurist. She was a founder of the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy (ABJD).

Originally published on the website Other words.

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