Julian Assange, the trial against the founder of WikiLeaks begins

Julian Assange, the trial against the founder of WikiLeaks begins
Julian Assange, the trial against the founder of WikiLeaks begins

The trial on the Assange case began this morning before the London High Court, that is, on the appeal presented by the Washington authorities against the first instance decision with which the British justice last January denied the extradition of the Australian co-founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange to the USA. Two hearings are scheduled on the agenda, today and tomorrow, while the final verdict could take several weeks if not months: up to a deadline indicated by the media by Christmas or early January. Outside the courtroom several activists gathered this morning to plead that the 50-year-old Australian – held pending a decision in the British maximum security prison in Belmarsh for two years now, despite no longer having any criminal proceedings in the UK, after the 7 spent as a refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and Quito’s subsequent choice to dump him in the face of American pressure – not to be extradited overseas and be released. All the more – underline his lawyers, his partner Stella Morris and WikiLeaks collaborators – after what has recently been learned about the plans that the CIA would have prepared in 2017, under the presidency of Donald Trump and the leadership of Mike Pompeo, to kidnap Julian when he was still in the Ecuadorian embassy; without excluding the possibility of murdering him.

Assange risks, if extradited, a sentence of up to 175 years in the United States, where he has been hunted for over 10 years, accusing him among other things of having collaborated in computer crimes, linked to Russia’s interference campaign in the 2016 elections. (which brought Trump to the White House). Wikileaks published among other things emails from Hillary Clinton, which deeply damaged the Democratic candidate, and had been hacked by the GRU, the military intelligence services of Moscow. The Wikileaks account had come into contact, via direct messages on twitter, with another leaks account which turned out to be managed directly by the Russians.

In the years since 2010, WikiLeaks had also published documents revealing American abuses, among which the Pentagon files stolen by former military Chelsea Manning containing revelations on war crimes committed in Afghanistan and Iraq stand out. Washington accuses Assange of complicity with Manning in hacking. An accusation to which he later added that of violation of the Espionage Act, that is, of having acted in a context of espionage. British first instance judge Vanessa Baraister had denied extradition, while refusing to accept the defense’s arguments against the legitimacy of an investigation denounced by many as a political revenge and a threat to freedom of information, based on a medical report that hypothesized suicide risks for Julian Assange: given his psycho-physical conditions and the judicial and prison treatment he would face in the United States. But the legal team representing the US government managed to get the right to appeal, raising doubts about the expert’s credibility.

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