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Wikileaks: Julian Assange ‘will die’ if extradited, warns wife

Anxiety is growing. Julian Assange’s wife Stella Assange warned on Thursday that the Wikileaks founder would die if he is extradited to the United States, where he is being prosecuted for a massive document leak, before a new appeal is heard in London. “His health is deteriorating, both physical and mental. “His life is in danger every day he remains in prison and if he is extradited he will die,” she told a press conference in London.

Julian Assange, 52, faces a hearing in what could be one of his final appeals against extradition, his supporters say. Two British magistrates on February 20 and 21 will consider the London High Court’s June 6, 2023 decision to deny Julian Assange permission to appeal his extradition to the United States, made in June 2022 by the British government. If he succeeds, his appeal will be considered on its merits. If he fails, he will exhaust all avenues of appeal in the United Kingdom, but his supporters have signaled he will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Julian Assange, an Australian citizen jailed in London since April 2019, faces decades in prison in the United States, where he is being prosecuted for publishing more than 700,000 confidential documents about US military and diplomatic activities since 2010, particularly in Iraq. and Afghanistan. Among them was video showing civilians, including two Reuters journalists, killed in a July 2007 US helicopter gunship in Iraq.

“The hole is so deep that we will never see it again.”

British justice has given the green light for Julian Assange’s extradition after the United States provided assurances that he would not be jailed at the high-security ADX prison in Florence, Colorado, nicknamed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” But the warnings are that the commitment “isn’t even worth the paper it’s written on,” said Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson.

If extradited, “Julian will be placed in a hole so deep that we will never see him again,” Stella Assange said.

As the hearing approached, Julian Assange saw expressions of support grow. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese condemned the US justice system’s prosecution of Julian Assange, and the Australian Parliament on Wednesday passed a motion calling for an end to it. “This issue cannot go on forever,” Anthony Albanese told parliament, adding that he said Australians on all sides agreed that “enough is enough”. He said he had raised Assange’s case “at the highest levels” in the UK and US.

“Danger of Suicide”

Julian Assange was arrested by British police in 2019 after seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape charges, and fired in 2019. He is currently being held at a maximum security prison in Belmarsh, east London.

In early February, the UN special rapporteur on torture, independent expert Alice Jill Edwards, called on the British government to “suspend the imminent extradition of Julian Assange.” “Julian Assange suffered from recurrent depressive disorder for a long time. He is assessed to be at risk of suicide,” Ms Edwards said.

She said: “The risk that he will be placed in prolonged solitary confinement despite his fragile mental health, and that his conviction may be disproportionate, raises the question of whether Mr Assange will be extradited to the United States by the United Kingdom consistent with the UK’s international human rights obligations. In a joint statement on Thursday, the International and European Federations of Journalists said the “ongoing prosecution of Julian Assange undermines press freedom around the world.”

Source: Le Parisien

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