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Assange’s lawyer: He is not going to get a good trial if extradited


Jennifer Robinson, an Australian-born lawyer, first met WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in October 2010 when she first suggested the whistleblowing organisation.

She has been a member of Assange’s authorized group ever since.

She practises regulation on the high-profile Doughty Avenue Chambers in London, UK, and has an illustrious report of engaged on well-known free-speech circumstances, together with advising The New York Occasions throughout its phone-hacking investigations in London. She has additionally engaged in free-speech litigation earlier than the UK Supreme Courtroom and the European Courtroom of Human Rights.

Assange has been indicted within the US for 17 counts underneath the Espionage Act and one depend underneath the Pc Fraud and Abuse Act. He continues to assert his innocence.

He may withstand 175 years in jail if he’s discovered responsible within the US on allegations that he performed a task in “one of many largest compromises of categorized data within the historical past of the US”.

Additional complicating issues, on June 24, The US Division of Justice issued a superseding indictment of Assange – a brand new indictment that replaces an older one and will include new costs.

The US claimed the brand new indictment didn’t include new costs however that it broadened the “scope of the conspiracy” and included accusations of recruiting hackers to offer Wikileaks with paperwork.

Robinson spoke to Al Jazeera about Assange’s extradition listening to, which concluded on 1 October:

Al Jazeera: How is Julian Assange doing proper now?

Robinson: His bodily and psychological state are in severe decline. His well being is struggling due to the varied types of restraint on his liberty since he was forcibly faraway from the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012. His psychological well being is in a precarious state.

Al Jazeera: What would a typical day in the course of the trial seem like for Assange?

Robinson: Throughout Assange’s confinement within the high-security Belmarsh jail in London, he was strip-searched at any time when he arrived at courtroom. He was pushed backwards and forwards from Previous Bailey courtroom behind the jail van. After a day in courtroom, he can be pushed “residence” to Belmarsh after which strip-searched once more. In the course of the trial, he would spend his days between the cells downstairs within the courtroom constructing and the courtroom upstairs.

He nonetheless spends 23 hours a day in his cell. Though he has not formally been positioned in solitary confinement, the situations of his detention successfully quantity to solitary confinement.

Al Jazeera: When was the final time Assange noticed his household?

Assange has had no guests for six months. He had no conferences with household since all visits had been cancelled. We, his attorneys, may additionally not do videoconferencing with him. The medical recommendation was that he mustn’t do videoconferencing.

Due to his pre-existing healthcare considerations, he may solely get cellphone calls. I’m not ready to touch upon his well being. However in his visits to psychiatric amenities, he has made clear that he’s decided to [take his own life] if he will get extradited.

Al Jazeera: What are your considerations over whether or not Assange has acquired a good trial?

We’ve a variety of procedural considerations arising notably from the superseding indictment, issued by america.

It’s fully unprecedented for the receiving state to challenge a superseding indictment so late in a trial. It meant that we completely didn’t have sufficient time to arrange witnesses – we sought to current proof on the brand new costs however the courtroom refused to listen to the proof.

We’ve lengthy had considerations concerning the politicisation of the method in america. We’ve severe considerations about the way in which the US has behaved to this point within the trial, notably by bringing new accusations. It signifies that Assange is not going to get a good trial ought to he be extradited.

Our considerations are shared by the Worldwide Bar Affiliation’s Human Rights Institute, which put out a really sturdy statement in the course of the course of the listening to.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor in chief of Wikileaks, and Jennifer Robinson speak to the media outdoors the Westminster Magistrates Courtroom after Julian Assange was arrested in London, April 11, 2019 [Hannah McKay/REUTERS]

Al Jazeera: The choice on extraditing Assange will probably be delivered by Decide Vanessa Baraitser on January 4. What do you count on will occur subsequent? And what situations will he face ought to he in the end be extradited to the US?

Whichever method the decide decides, the choice on whether or not he needs to be extradited is sort of sure to go enchantment and might lengthen to a variety of years. The decide acknowledged that Assange will stay in custody till January 4. Assange is prone to stay in custody in a high-security jail. In these circumstances, an accused will normally be out on bail however the courtroom has refused bail.

We heard from an skilled witness in the course of the trial that Assange will probably be held in a high-security jail if he will get extradited to the US. These maximum-security prisons have been described because the “darkest black gap of the US jail system”.

The US has not sought the demise penalty for the offences for which he has been charged so far. However what they’re searching for is successfully a life sentence. What the US is making an attempt to do by bringing the superseding indictment is to convey new costs on new offences. It might be the case that these new offences can be offences for which the US may search the demise penalty.

This interview was edited for brevity and readability.


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