Julian Assange Denied Bail in UK While Trump Regime Appeals Extradition Ruling

Julian Assange Denied Bail in UK While Trump Regime Appeals Extradition Ruling
A Julian Assange supporter is spoken to by police officers outside the Old Bailey in London, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. (Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth, AP)

Julian Assange has been denied bail while the Trump regime appeals a UK court’s ruling on Monday that the Wikileaks founder should not be extradited to the U.S. to face espionage and computer hacking charges. The court is worried Assange will skip bail like he did in 2012 when he claimed asylum at London’s Ecuadorian embassy. Assange spent almost seven years in the embassy before he was forcibly removed.

“There are substantial grounds for believing that if Mr. Assange is released today he would fail to surrender to court and face the appeal proceedings,” UK judge Vanessa Baraitser said in court Wednesday morning, according to CNN.

Judge Baraister ruled on Monday that Assange should not be extradited to the U.S. because American prisons often use solitary confinement, something most wealthy countries regard as torture. Baraister cited expert testimony that concluded Assange was at a high risk for suicide if he was sent into the U.S. prison system.

Assange, a 49-year-old Australian national, recently received word from the Mexican government that he could find safe harbour there, something that was noted in court today by the U.S. government. Assange’s home country of Australia has said that he can return home like any other Australian citizen but that government has made no assurances he would be protected from U.S. extradition once he landed down under.

Assange is currently being held in Belmarsh Prison near London faces 18 federal charges in the U.S., including computer hacking and spying charges under the 1917 Espionage Act for his role in obtaining classified documents about the war in Afghanistan and U.S. State Department cables. The Afghan War documents and video were leaked to Wikileaks by Chelsea Manning and the Trump regime alleges that Assange went beyond the role of journalist by helping coach Manning through how to obtain the sensitive materials.

The U.S. government plans to file an appeal on Monday, according to CNN, though it’s not clear how long the entire appeal process may take. Assange faces 175 years in prison if he’s extradited to the U.S.