Julian Assange Lays Out His Case Against US Extradition

A lot of the defense’s case—including a lot of of the arguments it discovered in the initial February hearings—focuses on the political character of the rates. Assange’s attorneys level out that “political offenses” aren’t subject to extradition in the US-United kingdom extradition treaty, and they argue that his prosecution is “remaining pursued for ulterior political motives and not in great religion.” The Espionage Act cost in opposition to Assange, which alleges that he illegally released categorized documents, is by its character a political offense that falls outdoors the extradition circumstances, the protection argues. To emphasize the politicized character of the scenario, they reference President Trump’s a long time-very long war with the press, referring to the media as “the opposition bash,” and “the enemy of the individuals.” They elevate then-CIA director Mike Pompeo’s statement in April 2017 that he noticed Assange and WikiLeaks as “a non-condition hostile intelligence company.”

That interpretation broke with that of the Obama administration, which considered prosecuting Assange below the Espionage Act in 2013 but chose not to, considering the fact that doing so would violate a very long precedent of not prosecuting news stores for publishing categorized data they attain from sources.

“The indictment breaks all authorized precedents. No publisher has ever been prosecuted for disclosing national secrets and techniques considering the fact that the founding of the country more than two centuries back,” wrote journalism professor Mark Feldstein in his testimony on behalf of the protection. “The belated conclusion to disregard this 230-12 months-outdated precedent and cost Assange criminally for espionage was not an evidentiary conclusion but a political a person.”

The defense’s arguments also request to undermine the hacking scenario in opposition to Assange, which alleges that he conspired with previous army personal Chelsea Manning and other people to steal categorized data. That primary hacking cost, the basis of the initially indictment unsealed in opposition to Assange in April of previous 12 months, relied on the simple fact that Assange available in chats with Manning to assist her crack a hashed password—thereby involving himself in Manning’s theft of magic formula data from the military services. But the protection points out that testimony in Manning’s own court docket martial was inconclusive as to irrespective of whether Assange had ever truly cracked the password, or irrespective of whether he would have been in a position to with the data Manning supplied, or what goal the password would be utilized for if it ended up effectively cracked.

In June, prosecutors strike Assange with a superseding indictment that extra allegations of conspiring with hackers who supplied stolen data to WikiLeaks, including Anonymous hackers Jeremy Hammond and Hector Monsegur, as effectively as Icelandic WikiLeaker Sigurdur Thordarsson. The protection argues that all those new elements provide only as “background narrative” of a hacking conspiracy, and “absent evidence of the Manning allegations the new more carry out could not sustain, of itself, conviction.”

In addition, the shock introduction of a new indictment soon after the extradition scenario had previously begun in February is remarkably unorthodox, says Tor Ekeland. It may even sign to the United kingdom court docket that the US Section of Justice will pile on more rates soon after it previously has Assange in hand, he says. Protection attorneys for Assange in a hearing Monday unsuccessfully sought to have the new elements of the indictment disregarded in the extradition scenario, supplied that they had small time to get ready counterarguments. “It is an offense to the rule of legislation,” says Ekeland. “It reveals that the US are not able to be trusted not to supersede the indictment all over again if Assange is extradited.”

Ekeland argues that Assange’s protection still has impressive arguments in its favor, from the freedom of the press precedents that the Assange prosecution would violate to the opportunity menace to Assange’s mental health and fitness and effectively-remaining if he ends up in an American jail. That mental health and fitness argument in unique has worked in the previous for British hackers the US has attempted to extradited: Ekeland’s own consumer Lauri Enjoy prevented extradition soon after a psychiatrist testified that he endured from psychosis and melancholy, and United kingdom hacker Gary McKinnon escaped extradition in 2012 thanks in section to his prognosis of autism.