The extradition trial for imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not begin until February of next year.
Assange appeared in a London court through a video link on Friday.
Judge Emma Arbuthnot decided that Assange, a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, will face a five day trial beginning on February 25 to determine if he will be extradited to the United States, where he would face charges under the controversial Espionage Act. If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for the award-winning publications.
Assange, of course, will still get a trial — despite what mountains of fake news are claiming. Many outlets have now implied that a decision to send him to the US was already made, based on a procedural signature acknowledging receipt of the extradition request by Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Obviously, this decision still lies with the courts and their reporting is false.
The publisher is currently serving a 50 week sentence in the maximum security HMP Belmarsh for skipping bail in the UK and taking asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy. He has been in the hospital ward of the prison since May 16. Photos published by the Gateway Pundit revealed extreme weight loss since this reporter last visited him at the embassy in March.
According to BBC journalist Joshua Rozenberg, who was present at the hearing, Assange currently has no access to a computer so they have to send him court documents through the mail.
Ben Brandon, a lawyer representing the United States, was running through the charges against Assange when the imprisoned publisher interrupted and said that he “didn’t break any password whatsoever.”
Last month the UN issued a scathing report in which Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture said that Assange has been exposed to psychological torture and warned that the award-winning publisher could face the death penalty if he is extradited to the United States. The report came after Melzer visited Assange along with two medical experts who specialize in examining potential torture victims on May 9.
“I am particularly alarmed at the recent announcement by the US Department of Justice of 17 new charges against Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act, which currently carry up to 175 years in prison. This may well result in a life sentence without parole, or possibly even the death penalty, if further charges were to be added in the future,” Melzer continued.
Melzer also wrote that “there has been a relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation against Mr. Assange, not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, Sweden and, more recently, Ecuador.”
“In the course of the past nine years, Mr. Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination.”
Melzer and the medical experts concluded that Assange has been the victim of psychological torture.
“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,” Melzer said. “The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!”
By Cassandra Fairbanks