Stella Assange, the wife of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, called on the British government on Saturday not to sign his extradition order to the United States. She believes that her fate now depends on a “political decision” which “will have repercussions for all of Europe”.
Last Wednesday, British justice formally gave the green light to the surrender of the 50-year-old Australian to American justice, which is prosecuting him in particular under anti-espionage legislation, but it is up to the British Minister for Interior Priti Patel to sign an extradition decree.
A European problem
“We have four weeks to provide our observations to Priti Patel before she makes her decision. If she signs the decree (…) we will be able to appeal on the substantive issues not yet appealed, such as freedom of the press or the political motivation of the prosecution,” explained in an interview. to AFP Stella Assange, on the sidelines of a demonstration in support of her husband in Brussels.
“The grounds for appeal in the United Kingdom are very limited, because the extradition treaty leans heavily in favor of the United States, without allowing the examination of the American allegations (…) We will go as far as the European Court of human rights the man if necessary,” added the South African lawyer. “This is a European problem: the heart of democratic values is at stake; what will be decided will have repercussions for everyone, for journalists, everywhere in Europe”, she insisted, judging that “a window” is opening to raise awareness and to put forward in London “political arguments “.
« Plus d’excuse »
The United States wants to try the founder of WikiLeaks for the dissemination, from 2010, of classified documents on American military and diplomatic activities, in particular in Iraq and Afghanistan. He faces one hundred and seventy-five years in prison. Julian Assange was arrested in 2019 after spending more than seven years as a refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He has since been held in a high-security prison near London, where he married Stella Morris, his ex-lawyer, last month.
For Stella Assange, the fate of her husband depends “entirely on politics”. Anxious not to offend Washington, London “contented itself with saying that it was letting justice decide. Now the courts have upheld the extradition order, there is no more excuse: the British government must decide alone in the coming weeks whether Julian will be extradited,” she stressed. “The British government is in a position where it condemns war crimes in Ukraine and will have to show whether it is ready to extradite a journalist for exposing war crimes,” she observed.