US prosecutors have charged Assange with 17 allegations of espionage and one computer abuse charge for the publication of thousands of leaked military and diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks. The prosecution has a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison, although Lewis said: “The longest sentence ever imposed for this offense is 63 months”.
Lewis said the American authorities had promised that Assange would not be held in a maximum security “Supermax” prison or strictly isolated prior to the trial and, if convicted, would serve his sentence in Australia. Lewis said the representations were “binding on the United States”.
“Once adequate medical care is available and it is clear that he is being returned to Australia to serve a sentence, we can safely say that the district judge would not have ruled the relevant issue as she did,” said he called.
The US also says that a key defense witness, neuropsychiatrist Michael Kopelman, misled the previous judge by failing to mention that Stella Moris, a member of the WikiLeaks legal team, was also Assange’s partner and had two children with him had him. Lewis said information was “an extremely relevant factor in determining the likelihood of suicide.”
Assange’s attorney Edward Fitzgerald accused US attorneys of “minimizing the severity of Mr. Assange’s mental disorder and risk of suicide.”
Fitzgerald said in a written statement that Australia has not yet agreed to arrest Assange if convicted. Even if Australia agreed, Fitzgerald said the US legal process could take a decade “during which Mr. Assange will remain in extreme isolation in a US prison”.
Assange, who is being held in London’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison, was due to attend the two-day hearing via video link, but Fitzgerald said Assange had been given a high dose of medication and “feels unable to attend.” . “
Assange later appeared on the videolink intermittently, sitting at a table in a prison room and wearing a black face mask.
Since WikiLeaks began publishing classified documents more than a decade ago, Assange has become a focus figure. Some see him as a dangerous intelligence agent who endangered the lives of informants, others who helped the United States in war zones. Others say WikiLeaks shed light on official misconduct that governments would like to keep secret.
American prosecutors say Assange illegally helped US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal classified diplomatic telegrams and military files that WikiLeaks later released. Assange’s lawyers argue that he has worked as a journalist and is entitled to the protection of freedom of speech under the First Amendment when he publishes documents exposing the wrongdoing of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Several dozen pro-Assange protesters held a boisterous rally outside the neo-Gothic Royal Courts of Justice in London on Wednesday, calling the prosecutor politically motivated. They called on US President Joe Biden to end the legal proceedings initiated under his predecessor Donald Trump.
Protesters included Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who said Assange’s case “relates to our society, it relates to our freedom of expression, it relates to our individual human rights, and we need to watch the government”.
WikiLeaks supporters say that testimony during the extradition hearing that Assange was spied on – and even talked about kidnapping or killing him – by a Spanish security company at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London undermined US claims that that he will be treated fairly.
The two judges hearing the appeal – one is England’s senior judge, Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett – are not expected to make their decision for several weeks. The losing side could appeal to the UK Supreme Court.
Assange, 50, has been in jail since his arrest in April 2019 for skipping bail during a separate lawsuit. He previously spent seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he fled in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape and sexual assault charges.
Sweden closed the sex offense investigation in November 2019 because so much time had passed. The judge who blocked extradition in January ordered that he must remain in custody during any US complaint and ruled that the Australian citizen “has an incentive to flee” if released.
Outside the court, Moris said it was “totally unthinkable that the UK courts would allow an extradition”.
“I hope the courts will end this nightmare that Julian can come home soon and bright people prevail,” she said.