WikiLeaks founder, JULIAN ASSANGE, faces 'a living death sentence' of 175 years in a concrete coffin cell

Wednesday, February 21, 2024
 – Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange’s fight to evade extradition from Britain to the United States might be coming to an end soon, after years of legal challenges.

London’s High Court is considering whether the Australia-born activist and whistleblower can further appeal his extradition within the British court system.

A hearing took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the judges are expected to make their decision at a later date possibly weeks, even months later.

Two judges, Dame Victoria Sharpe and Mr Justice Johnson, yesterday reserved their judgment pending further submissions from both sides.

They are expected to rule on whether the extradition, originally agreed by former home secretary Priti Patel in 2022, can go ahead, or whether Assange has the right to another appeal, sometime next month.

U.S. prosecutors want Assange, 52, to stand trial for, they allege, violating the Espionage Act when he conspired to obtain thousands of classified documents related to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010. He faces 18 charges and a potential 175-year prison sentence.

Lawyers fear the 52-year-old could be confined alone in a ‘concrete coffin’, a 12ft by 7ft chamber with a window 3ft high but just four inches wide, designed to ensure that the inmate has no view other than sky or wall.

Under this regime, meals are passed through a slot in the door and inmates use a stainless steel sink, toilet, and shower inside their cell, meaning they don’t even leave to eat or wash.

Once every 24 hours, they are allowed out for an hour to exercise in a small, individually caged space, often sunken, like an empty swimming pool, to prevent them from getting any sense of their bearings within the prison complex.

If he loses, his lawyers could try to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Assange is wanted in America for trial on 17 charges under the Espionage Act one of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for publishing hundreds of thousands of confidential military documents and exposing multiple atrocities committed by American service people during the course of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If convicted, he could face up to 175 years in prison ‘a living death sentence,’ according to his wife Stella, the mother of his two youngest children, Gabriel, six, and Max, five.

‘It would be catastrophic,’ she said yesterday. ‘Our children are British, they are in school, their stability is here. Our contact with Julian would be severely restricted, potentially to one 15-minute call once a month. He would face barbaric conditions even before trial. He will not survive extradition to this kind of torture.’

Currently, Britain is only acting as jailer for the Americans, holding Assange in London’s maximum security prison Belmarsh. He was locked up there in 2019 after spending seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had been granted asylum by the country’s Left-wing then-president Rafael Correa.

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